Tag Archives: music

women at work- living in our truth

Unpublished Work © 2011 Cristina Carlino
cristina carlinoin last week’s blog i told you the beginning of my personal story  about  “hands and knees, ” a song i wrote  with my friend, stuart mathis.  the song was about standing in our truth and the effects i saw  corporate america having on the women i worked with  as my days at philosophy came to an end.

“honey i’m beat” was the “battle cry” in each chorus. and truly we were. i saw it suddenly and profoundly one otherwise ordinary morning as many of us gathered around the conference room table.  we were highly competent, dedicated, with and with without children and lives packed with responsibilities to be met even before we entered the office.  like women in offices around the country, we were grateful to be employed, enjoying our work and at the same time torn and teetering on the brink of exhaustion. we were on our way to what i saw then as an invisible breaking point.  what i could not see then was how mightily that point was also heading toward me.

for thirty years i had been a skin expert  but i couldn’t see that over the years my own beautiful skin was slowly morphing into something more like a suit of armor.  what was once soft was now a false, impenetrable shield between me and harm.  but the problem with a shield is while it keeps some bad things out it also can not possibly let other good things in.  in my case these were more love and self awareness.  as philosophy grew bigger as a company my skin along with my co workers kept stretching as we pulled on imaginary fire hoses to put out fires every day.  the stress is collective but so also are the rewards.

and that is the good part – the wonderful things about corporate America.   i loved creating and birthing philosophy.  i love philosophy today and am so proud of all of those who create and continue to grow philosophy without me.  i am eternally grateful for the joy and relationships and all i have learned and earned for all of my efforts.  but i hope you will never assume that there is not a price paid for each and every dollar we all earn regardless if our jobs are in an executive office or in shipping.  because there is.  and i was no exception.

and throughout, creating was the happiest and most exhilarating thing i got to do on my job and on too many days to count only for five minutes.  it brought me great joy.  joy is creative.  it fills our hearts and lights up our faces and lifts us from our hands and knees.  i believe it is our job one responsibility to ourselves.  so i’m curious to hear how you cultivate your creativity at your job today. in what small or bigger ways.  either alone or with a coworker or team.

do you allow yourself to daydream?   (it’s a great tool for problem solving)

do you let yourself enjoy your skills and talents without judgment?

do you celebrate your successes with each other?   the little and big ones?

do you trust yourself?  your instincts?  do you believe that creativity is trusting?

now  i spend several hours a day  at home  creating from a visionary place in soft skin with an equally soft heart.    some ideas are pretty good.  most will never see the light of day.  it doesn’t matter.  either way i’m here on the floor often stretched out on the floor with pen and paper in hand  or, you got it, on my hands and knees. the song and lyrics to “hands and knees” indeed ended up being the prelude to the invisible breaking point i could not see coming.  that moment did come for me.   and with it another song and a transformation that i am excited to begin sharing with you in my next blog.

peace and blessings,



standing in our truth

cristina carlinoUnpublished Work © 2011 Cristina Carlino

last week in my blog about journaling, i mentioned a song i wrote called “hands and knees”  that i would love to tell you about today.  music is the heart and soul of my life journal. the songs i write or in this case co-wrote with stuart mathis are not born in between the pages of a book’s binding, they all speak to the time in my journey that i never want to forget.   hands and knees was written about 18 months after  i sold the company i founded and created called philosophy.

for the past thirty years i have been a recognized authority on beauty.  today, i know my true expertise comes primarily from being the only person who will ever live my life.  our life experiences are what we have to share.  over the next several weeks, that is what i will be doing sharing  parts of my story with you that until now have lived inside of me.

so looking back, here’s how “hands and knees” came to be:    it was a crisp fall morning  at  philosophy  and like many other mornings, i was  in an overly caffeinated conference room filled with many other wonderful women.  we all worked together in a culture we strived to create as supportive.   these women are both mothers and not mothers, married and single, overloaded with responsibilities, beautiful, competent sisters  and i was suddenly struck by a  profound site of overworked, under loved super girls.  we were sharing a silent collective moment i call the breaking point.   the breaking point is  not a power point presentation.   you don’t actually see it till it breaks.   but i sensed clearly it was on its way.   what i was not able to see in that moment was how forcefully it was coming for me, too.  but i  heard  a few words in my mind that become part of the chorus to this song:

“honey my hands and knees have grown tired from the road

i need relief

honey i’m beat from a broken heavy load.”

now a girl is a girl is a honey is a girl and i believe the truest part of our feminity is our vulnerability.  our bodies are more vulnerable, our sensibilities and sensitivities on 24 hour alert.  our lives are packed with jobs and responsibilities to ourselves and others with or without children even before we show up to where we actually earn our living.  we may recall when we were little children waiting for the slow, slow time to pass until we became grown- ups.  then, at last we would be vulnerable no longer.  we would be free.   now we know to love is to be vulnerable.  and to live is to be vulnerable. to never have enough hours in a day is “grown up.”   to do so silently and without enough nourishment day after day as we take constant beatings with our own sticks that remind us we have got to be more, and aren’t doing it all to perfection can make us very unsafe.

the freedom we were waiting for comes now in being there for each other while we’re getting “the job” done.  this is how we lighten the load.   whether in a corporation, a small business, or doing the work of raising our children at home.  so I’m wondering, how are you doing this today?

do you reminding each other to take a lunch break?

do you take a moment to listen to someone who really needs to be heard?

do you offer a loving smile just because she looks like she could use it?

when you go in the bathroom, can you look in mirror and say “i love you” just because you need it most of all?

do you make it your business to have a good laugh with someone at least once during the day – no matter what?

can a single moment of being still be as essential as your morning cup of coffee?

i wrote powerful lyrics and melody lines for “hands and knees” so i might stand in my truth side by side women trying to stand in their truth.  “honey i’m beat” was the battle cry in each chorus.  i will tell you more about the stories behind the verses of hands and knees’s in next week’s blog.

until then, please think of an expression i told myself everyday/during that time. “this too shall pass.” each one of our songs seems to follow the next. the next chorus of “hands and knees” was the prelude to the song that came after which would journal the moment that brought me to my breaking point. that song in turn ended up being the opening to my next miracle. discovering the woman i was always meant to be. right here with you. and i am so very grateful.

peace and blessings,


make a joyful noise

Unpublished Work © 2011 Cristina Carlino

i have been spending  a wonderful summer vacation  in new york city.  i don’t  come to manhattan  looking for peace and quiet.  i come to change it up.  this is an island with no shortage of noise and noisy people trying to be heard above the noise.  what comes with it is also an unmatchable energy, innovation, invention and rhythm.  and then there is “Stomp – The Musical” that my daughter, grace and i went to see the other day on broadway.   if you aren’t familiar, stomp is a group of performers who create an extraordinary symphony of music , dance and colors using  unconventional percussion  instruments from brooms to garbage can lids, poles, to pounds of sand, bananas, basketballs and seemingly endless possibilities – including, literally, the kitchen sink.  as a child, i loved banging on pots and pans and so did grace.  they were our favorite and most fascinating household instruments.

now these professionally played pots and pans were dazzling to listen to plus the muscles on the arms of these musicians  were strong and beautiful to look at. it reminded me how strong our spiritual muscles can grow when we create our own rhythms, break a few rules and take a risk to dance to the beat of a different drummer.  our dream  takes off and we may  have someone or thousands of people snapping their fingers and clapping along with us. i know this to be true from how we started  philosophy.

theodore  roosevelt  said, ”do what you can, where you are, with what you have.” when i first read that quote  it took time  to sink in. it helped me open to the truth that the answer to my needs is often right in front of my nose. but always  somehow my need,  (not always my want),  is always supplied. a garbage lid, a spatula drum stick, a stomping foot to keep the beat. in the beginning years of philosophy,  we were told we needed models and professional photo shoots to show our new products. but we just didn’t have the budget for it. what we did have was our own pictures. lots of them. granted they were our pictures from childhood but they were already shot, free and became part of our brand.  To this day they work.

Stomp is a dream of two gifted people. once upon a time, thousands of years ago, the stick was an origin of rhythm and music . and so, thank god, we go.  the beat goes on.  our dreams are the mother of invention. we make a joyful noise.  and we do not give up faith that all of our needs will be met  one by one, right where we are to help us keep making it.

The beauty of music

i am a lyricist. i love writing songs. i have written several, so i appreciate great female musicians, like cheryl crow. do you know her song, “a change will do you good”? change is good. most of the time i can see and say that…but sometimes i have to pray to be guided to know this to be true.

Like so many forms of beauty in our world, music is something both universal and so uniquely individual to each of us. We experience music so personally, yet we all experience it. Music touches us in many ways, serves so many purposes, and its message is so often an anchor for our own strength.

Especially in times when change is imminent, when change seems unavoidable and undesirable, music can serve as a reminder that the path of life has many blind turns – but we must not be afraid to forge ahead.

Our Facebook friend John Homer shared some lyrics by Kathy Troccoli that have guided him in such times:

“When the hurricane blows against your heart/ And the sky’s on fire/ And you don’t know where you are./ When you’ve done all you can do,/ And there’s no one else to turn to,/ He will shelter you.”

But the real beauty, the real miracle of music, lies in its capacity to comfort us in all different and changing situations. Veronica Bisesti is another Facebook friend who appreciates the music integrated into every stage of her life, whether joyful or heart-aching.

“[Music] can bring me right back to those precious moments and conjure up the emotions,” she writes. “And it’s at those times, when I’m reliving the pain or the joy, that I can best reflect on what really matters NOW. Music has helped me grow, relax AND change.”

And friends, that is the heart of the matter. Everything changes – the world around us and the people within it. Share music and how you experience it, how it bolsters you in hard times and lifts you up in wonderful times.

Music is a beautiful thing. And so are we.

Screenshot of Facebook discussion of music

Screenshot of Facebook discussion of music