A Week of Inspiration: Day 2 Laura Sullivan (my very own sister…)

Some of my earliest memories involve my big sister, Laura. Growing up, she was always at the piano and I always wanted to be with her and unlike sterotypical big sisters, Laura was happy to have me join her.  I would sit on her lap and plunk away at the keys or dance (horribly) behind her as she made the piano sing; magically… Laura always filled our home with her beauty, love, music and kindness. Laura’s gentle spirit is infectious and if I had to use one word to describe my sister, it would be Pure Love.  Ok, so that’s two words, but just love isn’t enough.  I rarely see my sister upset, frazzled, or angry and she has this calm about her that I long for. I have always looked up to my sister and I continue, to this day, to strive to be the solid rock, the peaceful soul, the fountain of joy that she is.  My sister has seen me through it all, from standing next to me on my wedding day, to when my babies were born. We have celebrated together our triumphs and we’ve cried together through our sorrows. I was honored to be present on the day of one of our biggest joys, the day my niece was born. My sister’s only child. Our beautiful angel Shaela. We had lost our mother not long before we welcomed Shaela into the world, a little wonder who has my mom’s blue eyes, who is sweet like my sister, and ferociously brave, strong and adventurous; her light in this world the very instant she appeared was and continues to be an absolute gift from heaven. Laura, her husband Eric, and now 6 year old Shaela are a constant joy in my life and my sister is an inspiration to me like no other. I firmly believe that everyone needs a sister like Laura. A sister to hold you close, a sister that will listen to you, cry with you, to laugh with you, and to drink wine and eat chocolate with you (yes, if you are asking, that’s totally paleo because wine and chocolate with your sister just HAS to be paleo).

Laura, as an accomplished composer, pianist, and recording artist has filled the world with her spirit, the very essence of what makes her special and so dear to me, and she does this by sharing her music with all of us. Laura has worked diligently over the years and with such astounding passion that it’s exhausting to think of all she has accomplished but to look at her, you would think it was all as easy as pie. Laura shares with us below a bit about herself and a message of love and perserverance that will inspire you all.

You can visit Laura’s website here, and find and enjoy her music here. Laura’s latest album, Love’s River, has been submitted to the Grammy Ballot to be considered for a nomination and Love’s River is charting at #1 in Ambient Music on Reverb Nation!!

I hope you also enjoy her beautiful music!

Thank you sweet sister. I love you.

laura hug shaelaCreative Integration by Laura Sullivan

I want to tell you about an amazing experience we recently had visiting the home of my sister Sarah. Now, visiting the Fragoso household is like running to catch a moving train. At any one time there are three rambunctious and talented boys, Sarah and her husband John, a pack of dogs, a flock of chickens (all named), friends, aunts, uncles, musicians, and various compatriots always coming and going. Family.

Somehow, in the midst of Sarah’s latest Paleo lifestyle projects, John’s chiropractic career, cooking amazing food and feeding an army of hungry mouths, salsa dancing, fitness training, and the boys’ jazz and rock concerts, Sarah organized for us a “family workout”.

Wow. This was no trip to the gym where the kids go to the playroom while the adults work out. This was not an aerobics session in front of the TV while the kids watch cartoons in the other room. And it was not a run in the park pushing the kids in the stroller… No, this was epic and contagious and everyone was in on it.

And it was super duper fun. We divided up into two teams, were given the same exercises, attacked them in a team relay fashion, and raced to the finish! We started with lunges across the farm (carefully avoiding the vegetable garden and the variety of animals along the way). We waved our arms in a helicopter type fashion as we returned (there is a technical name for this arm waving thing, but I don’t remember it).

Now I like to think I’m in decent shape, but I was already starting to feel it, and that was just the warm up! Then the competition began. We did push-ups, lunges, step-ups, hops, and more, all working our full body. Each member of the team did as many as they could, then “handed off” to the next teammate and we kept it going around like that until our team finished the count. The race was on!

In the beginning, my husband and I were a little concerned about our chances. Even though our team included my brother Mark, who has the heart of a warrior, the other team included both Sarah and John – two of the strongest and fittest people I know! But it was then that I discovered the biggest surprise of the Family Workout – the kids are the secret weapon!

There was my nephew Coby, blasting out the push-ups when the rest of us were tired, and my six-year old daughter Shaela pounding through the squats. We were neck and neck with my sister’s team! They were also flying through their exercises with the huge help of her sons Jaden and Rowan. We were sweating and laughing our heads off, passionately cheering everyone on, and giving it our all.

So who won? Well, that’s the funny thing, because it seems there is some debate. I thought we may have won by a hair, but they seem to remember it as going the other way… the truth is, we all won. I get to keep that memory forever – getting in shape, having a ball, and doing it together with the people I love.

I’m so grateful when we can do things together as a family. It’s more fun, more engaging, creates beautiful memories, and sets the stage for continued success and health for ourselves and for our children. We know the best way to learn is by example…

No judgment on anyone who drops their kids off at the playroom at the gym, or puts them in the stroller to go for a run. Good for you all! I do those things myself plenty of times. The most important thing is to do it! But, if we let our kids or anything else in life become an excuse for why we are NOT exercising, or doing anything else we want to do, we are selling ourselves short. Finding ways to integrate our activities as a family and meet everyone’s needs helps us all to win.

When my daughter was born, I was wondering how I was going to continue my career as a recording artist with a severely colicky baby who would not sleep unless she was nursing or in some way next to my skin. I could literally not take her out of my arms for her first year, and there was a time when I thought any type of music production would have to be put on hold. Which would not meet my needs. I’m the type of person that has a deep need to be constantly in the creation process to feel fulfilled.

Fortunately, I figured out that I could nurse my baby in a Moby wrap and she could sleep right there snuggled up to me while I write music, play the piano and even while I record. I wrote and recorded most of my fifth album with her in this position. We came to call her the ‘Moby Baby’. Has it affected her development? Well, at the age of three she contributed her singing to the release of a CD that accompanies my piano teaching method book called “Borne Virtuosos.” And now at the age of 6, she is already an accomplished little piano player. So, maybe it affected her, but definitely it affected me. How inspiring it is to write and play music with a little sweetie pie snuggled up to my body. It’s an experience I shall always treasure, with gratitude, that there was a way to integrate being a mother and a musician at that precious time in my life.

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Here is to being creative in manifesting many more of those experiences as our family life continues to evolve over time.

Laura Sullivan is a pianist, composer and recording artist. For more information about Laura you can visit her website: www.laura-sullivan.com

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