I want to write about action. Not your Hollywood, lights, camera, action. But the kind of action that means change. I want to talk about making a difference. I want to talk about life changing moments. I am thinking of what I am doing in my life and how that can help you in your life.
C. A. Kobu says, “Action separates dreamers from doers.”
Some time ago, I decided to be a doer. Seriously. My motto for this blog is, “Live, Be, Do.” That is my feeling about life right now. In order to live it, I must enjoy being a part of it, and in order to take part in it, I must do something with it.
Everyone can learn to take action and get the important things done. I was motivated by a brilliant instigator named Tara Rodden Robinson, who says, “Starting Is the Only Way.”
Tara is into that feeling that leads from great idea to leap. She says, “It’s like asking a bird how to fly: You just spread your wings and flap, she’d say.”
Tara further explains that as a coach, she knows it’s not that simple. “It’s downright painful to watch someone teetering on the edge of starting: they’re wanting so badly to leap and yet terrified that their wings won’t hold and their flight will turn into a fall. Just because you start doesn’t mean you’re committing to a giant leap.”
I love that. It is in the starting that you are able to fly!! I needed to get started. So, that is what I did.
Tara continued, “Small steps, the tiniest little beginnings–each one counts as much as the large impressive bounds do. Besides, starting is the only way to have any possibility of journeying, enjoying the exhilaration of the process, and ultimately, savoring the satisfaction of arriving.”
Well, I am hooked! I am ready! I am all in! Why? Because I am all about the journey. I do enjoy each moment. I love my life and I love where my road is taking me. I am thrilled that each stop along the way makes me more and more excited about the next destination. I can do this!
Tara Rodden Robinson challenged me to bring to mind something I really wanted to do but was afraid of starting. I was simply afraid of the unknown. But the more I thought about it, researched it, talked about it and prepared myself for the possibility of success, the more real it became. Besides, all I have to do is start, right?
Here is how it went down:
I evaluated. I soul searched. I tested myself.
The worst thing that can happen if I don’t start is…I’ll never know if I can reach my full potential. I won’t be the model for my children that I always hoped I would be. I won’t have anything but my hobbies to fall back on later in life. I will always wonder, “what if. . .”
If I don’t start, I will miss out on the chance to…really shine. I would like to share what I know with others. I want to do something with my life that I am thoroughly passionate about. I want to express joy in everything I do. I want to accomplish my vision. I want to make a splash.
The best thing that can happen if I do start is…I can actually help someone attain their goals. That would be amazing! Wait, I have done that many times over, in my personal relationships. It is amazing and I want to do it again and again for lots of people. I can be successful at doing this. I can make a difference. I can be the best at what I like to do. That idea is so freeing and exhilarating. The best thing that can happen is this could actually happen! I could fly with this!
Once I start, I’ll have the possibility of . . . helping others while doing what I love doing. This might be just the thing I need to get speaking engagements, grow my readership of my blog, and ultimately write and publish a book. Okay, don’t get ahead of yourself, but that is the idea! That is my vision! It is possible! All I have to do is start.
Think of the teensiest, tiniest action you could take that would look like starting. . . I could start a “business” blog and see what it looks like to market my services. I could start by talking about my ideas to others. I could test the waters.
Without committing to anything, when could you take this action? . . . I could start right away, there is no harm in pursuing this. It is something I am doing anyway and can be easily incorporated in my daily life. I will start now.
And I did. You might know all about it. You might be finding out for the first time. You might wonder what the heck I am talking about! You might be a bit confused. It just depends on how much I have let you in on the plan. It has been going on for months (years if you count the natural evolution of things!)
I want to be a life coach because I want to help other people and use my gifts and talents in ways that could really make a difference. I find it easy to make plans and set goals and I love seeing them through and making them happen. I realize that some people need help in this area. I can help. I often am able to make things easy for people when they doubt themselves. I am able to motivate them and give them peace of mind. I want to start a practice doing this.
Please see my new(ish) website for details on how I share my knowledge with others. And please keep coming to this blog for the thoughts and whimsical writings that inspire me to carry on.
but by simply noticing how I am imprisoning myself
in the very moment in which I am imprisoning myself.
I have been freed!
May 28, 2012
This weekend, Memorial Day Weekend, I am thrilled to celebrate the 100th post on my blog: http://mizmeliz.com!
I have learned so much and have met so many amazing people in the past six months! It has been a remarkable journey, so far. I want to pause and reflect on all the people who have paved the way and who have stood by and cheered me on. I know there is much, much more in store for me. I want to take a moment and really thank all of you for making this a reality for me!
This is a chronicle of the experiences I have had since I started blogging. I know it’s small beans relatively speaking but they are my experiences and I treasure them and I believe in celebrating each moment. This is how I have made a mark on my tiny corner of the Universe. These first few months have made a positive change in my life. Indulge me if I get carried away here. . .
The First Steps
I wouldn’t have continued with blogging seriously if it weren’t for the nudging of a fellow school parent and church friend, Ricca Frances 1. Who invited me to the group So Cal Lady Bloggersin October 2011. Ricca, who writes at http://www.sprmama.blogspot.com/ further encouraged me when she told me that she reads my blog and she considers me to be a prolific writer! Thanks to Ricca’s faith in me, I have been accepted by some wonderful communities and influential groups in the blogging world.
I cannot thank these ladies enough! Megan McClain 2, Carolyn West 3, Sidney Patrick 4, Wendy Nielson 5, Meagan Elliott 6, Beverly Diehl 7, Trina Finton 8, and AJ Feuerman 9 (and everyone at So Cal Lady Bloggers) for their advice and encouragement. I have enjoyed the meet ups, the conversations, the laughs and the education that they have gifted me with during our brief interludes. Thanks to all of them for showing me the ropes and for including me in their endeavors. It can only get better! I am looking forward to my induction into the wonderful world of blogging conferences and spending more time with you all IRL!
Megan, who writes at http://sunshinewonderland.com was the first person who asked me “What is your niche?” I realize now what a difference knowing the answer to that question makes.
Thanks to Carolyn, who writes at http://thistalkaintcheap.com I had the opportunity to attend a book signing and appearance of Jenny Lawson 10/http://thebloggess.com/hosted by Soleil Moon Frye 11 of http://moonfrye.com/ that made me laugh like crazy, buy the book, and enjoy every minute of reading it which inspired me to further pursue my own desire to write a book!
Sidney, of http://www.milbetweenus.com/ , will always be remembered for organizing the first meet up I attended. I was concerned about the first impression I made after having suggested she add time for cocktails (because I knew I would be nervous and would need a drink) and after exchanging our business cards, realizing we both had the same exact design. After the initial shock of the “showing up in the same dress” feeling wore off, I felt validated that I had a really cool business card just like Sidney’s!
Beverly, from http://writinginflow.blogspot.com/ has inspired me to write what I love. I love her because she is in a niche that I wish I had the balls to be in and she inspires me to be myself when I write and to let the creativity flow freely.
I am grateful for Trina, from http://www.shesgeekyinc.com who thoughtfully dressed in yellow, showed me the way, and gave me direction – quite literally – when I got lost in Beverly Hills while looking for the The Blogess! She was so kind and watched out for me, a total stranger!
AJ, who writes http://confessionsofafatgirl.typepad.com/ is my soul mate in many ways and I am so proud of her because she articulates thoughts and feelings that I have had my entire life that I still have not dared to write about as candidly as she has on her blog.
I am grateful for the opportunity to express myself creatively through writing and photography and I am much happier since I decided to take this turn in the road. In the past six months I have jumped around and explored many of my lifelong interests. I have been especially creative and I have had so much fun with it! From making jewelry, crocheting scarfs, making key chains and bookmarks with feathers, scrapbooking, drawing, face painting, sewing costumes, and decorating Easter eggs, to making videos and editing pictures using digital photography and iPhone apps – my hobbies and interests are extensive. There have been quite a few bumps in the road, but as any adventurer/thrill-seeker knows, that is what makes things interesting.
Special thanks to all the creatives who have accepted me into their fold, added me to their closed and secret Facebook groups and made me feel like a crafter, an artist, a photographer, a writer, a super mom, a super wife, a super friend, even a muse – – all of the things that I know I am, but now have incorporated into my bio. Because of you, I am being recognized outwardly for the things that I have cherished inside of me for so long!
I am proud to have had the pleasure of exploring the crazy avenues of life online as a member of some special groups on Facebook. Because of this I have found myself having heart to heart chats with the most talented and creative people I have ever met and would never have met if it weren’t for the “inter webs!”
It all started with Sue Dribben-Dicksen 15 (Abingdon) who I didn’t know in high school to unknowingly mentor me as a writer on Create a Story and Book Talk. http://aspiefolks.blogspot.com/
Sue then referred me to Susanne Bal Balyemez 16 http://peppysposts.com (Philadelphia) who made me a member of her Girl’s Treehouse Advisory Board and allowed me to share my inner thoughts and advice with a group blessed with so many spiritual, caring and thoughtful women.
Susanne then refered me to The Atelierwhere I found myself amongst some of the most incredible artists like Amy Kalabsa-Garcia 17 (Chicago) http://amykgarciaart.wordpress.com/ and Harold Rantasa 18 (Austria) http://www.art-rantasa.com/ who have shared their original works of art with me and allowed me to use it freely on my newly designed blog site.
Susanne also referred me to The Cooks Cornerwhere I pretend that I can cook so I can hang out with my BFIRL (best friend in real life) Holly Markman 19, private chef and owner of Holly’s Homemade. Holly has used some of my pictures on her website and I help to promote her endeavors. (So, shameless plug here – if you need a chef, a consultation or would like to take classes stop by http://www.hollyshomemade.com/)
Returning to a Familiar Territory
Somewhere around this time I started taking pictures of flowers and food while on all of my adventures. Shortly after I got married (about a million years ago) I took a college extension course in photography. I loved taking pictures and considered photo journalism as an area of interest. My mother-in-law gave me a beautiful Nikon SLR and I learned about aperture, depth of field and the basics of amateur photography. I put the passion for photography on hold for a while and only recently re-discovered it when I began taking pictures with my cell phone.
I joined Instagram, Flickrand Tumblr. I post my pictures of flowers that I edit and I enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoy taking them.
I met a photographer/artist who had inspired me years ago at an event and thanks to my new-found confidence; I introduced myself as a blogger/photographer. Now I have a mentor and I am collaborating with the inspirational and talented Elizabeth Thoman, CHM 20. Liz has a made a beautiful contribution to healing the sick by using her photography of flowers to help people in hospitals pray and enjoy their beauty http://healingpetals.com/. Liz has been recognized for her lifetime of work and exemplary leadership in various roles, including writer/editor of Media & Values magazine, Executive Director of the Center for Media Literacy (CML), and co-founder of NAMLE, the National Association for Media Literacy Education. http://namle.net/2009/08/31/meritorious-service-award-honors-longtime-leader/
Recently, I found myself in a group called Picture This where I was suddenly immersed in the world of photography. Jamie Gall 21 and Kristin Boyle McGuire 22 http://crazykwistin.wordpress.com/ both members of So Cal Lady Bloggers, are in this group. Jamie included my photos on her cell phone photography blog post http://mngirlinla.com/2012/04/09/week-2-of-cell-phone-photography-entries/. I am challenged on a weekly basis to post pictures with specific themes or in certain categories. Many of the other participants are professional photographers. It’s such a blast!
My article about decorating Lithuanian Easter Eggs got alike from Charlie 23 and Tom 24, two brothers, at http://photobotos.com/. I am hoping to be acknowledged for some of my work on that majestic site which highlights photography from around the globe.
Navigating My Way on the Road to Success
I could not have gone this far on my journey without the support and encouragement of my family and my friends. In January 2012 I was given a special gift by fellow blogger and spiritualist, Joy Detor Holland 25, http://facetsofjoy.com/ who sent me an email in regards to a writing initiative called A Year With Myself. One of my first blog posts was actually a response to a blog that I read by a friend of Joy’s, Raam Dev 26. Raam inspired me to write in the moment and consider a minimalist outlook. http://raamdev.com/
Writing in response to the prompts from A Year with Myself has caused me to examine my core values, my true passions, my talents and my goals. Following the prompts and committing to writing on my blog once a week is what made me believe that I could be a writer. Having the support of the creator and instigators of A Year with Myself has been a blessing beyond words. It has been an honor to get comments and ongoing encouragement from these writers who are experts in their fields.
I have been influenced by Patti Digh27, who describes how living in a liminal space, the ‘in between’ space, is the moment that there is nothing to hold on to where I can be the most present, most alive, most vulnerable, and most human. http://www.37days.com/
C.A. Kabu 32 (the creator of A Year with Myself) defined authenticity for me, asking me to think about my character, values, strengths, and their intersections while relating this to having a sense of who I am and sharing it with the world without reservations. http://ayearwithmyself.com/
Karen Caterson 33 taught me that knowing my differences—and living them is what makes me authentic, and how being authentic can lead to making a difference in the world. http://www.squarepegpeople.com/index.php
Abby Kerr 34 showed me that vision is having the ability or capacity to apprehend what I really want and believe I can do. http://abbykerrink.com/
Sue Mitchell 35 revealed how the relationship of adventure, serendipity and creativity and how being adventurous helps me in my creative projects. She talks about building self-confidence and finding life’s meaning through being adventurous and how inviting more adventure into your life, awakens the adventurer in you. http://www.yourmuseiscalling.com/
Dyanna Valentine 36 beckoned me to proclaim the things that I am not sorry for and to own who I am and what I stand for. http://dyanavalentine.com/
Thanks to A Year With Myself, I have had contact with other writers who are on this journey of self discovery and empowerment as well. One person in particular is Wing Pauh 37 (Singapore) whose website is http://www.wingvantagepoint.com/ at 22 years old, only half of my age, she has a deep insight and understanding of where she fits in the world that I truly admire. I just got a text from her about wanting to appeal to her company’s corporate social responsibility and provide donations for an animal shelter. She is such a remarkable young lady and I would never have met her if it weren’t for the broadening of my horizons through writing online.
I have also had a chance to help out other bloggers with my writing by having a guest post on their blog. When Tiffany 38 at http://stuffparentsneed.com/ was going to be away for a few weeks having her second child, she worked it out to treat her readers to articles from other bloggers. I heard about this on Facebook and I submitted a request to help her out. I was so excited when Tiffany accepted my proposal to do an interview of a new parent asking what item they couldn’t live without.
After that post, I was accepted as a member of the California Mom Bloggers by Teresa Olivera 39, who I would categorize as a blogging media mogul (or overachiever) http://teresaolvera.com/other-blogs/ Teresa is also a member of the So Cal Lady Bloggers and creator of Geo Moms. In a serendipitous swoop Teresa accepted my offer to review and post a weekly recap of The Bachelorette at http://californiamomblogs.com/! Now I have a weekly guest spot and I am reviewing a TV show!
My latest endeavor is my association with the Latina Lifestyle Bloggershttp://llbloggers.com/. I am very proud to have been accepted into this fine group of women. I met the founder and moderator of this group, Ana Lydia Monaco, 40 through So Cal Lady Bloggers, too! My favorite comment after announcing my acceptance to this particular group was from my brother who said, “So now you are Latina – congratulations!” In the next few weeks, I will uncover my deep seeded perceptions as to why I never embraced my heritage in this way until now. I have already begun writing about some issues that come to mind having to do with segregation, racial profiling, stereotypes, ethnicity and environment.
Road Signs and Mile Posts
One thing that every blogger knows about is the importance of knowing your numbers. For whatever reason, I have started to look at my stats and have forced myself to learn a bit about analytics just to keep up on the conversation! The purpose of this becomes important when joining groups, in applying to be a contributor and in the hopes of proving yourself worthy of being sponsored or picked up by an advertiser. For me, it is a fun way to see the potential and growth that I have engaged in as a blogger and I look at it like a map of my journey.
Speaking of numbers, there are some folks that I would like to THANK but it is impossible for me to list. I am grateful for their attention and love!
43+ writers who have influenced me (listed with their links above)
3988 people to date who have visited my blog, from over 60 countries!
89 comments people have made on my blog
16 people willing to subscribe to my blog
82 (and counting) likes on my Facebook Fan Page
424 followers on Twitter
274 people who have connected with me on LinkedIn
25 people who have viewed my vlog on my YouTube Channel
49 people who have viewed my Photostream on Flickr
38 followers on Instagram
67 people in my circles on Google+
76 people who follow my boards on Pinterest
And I am extremely grateful for my two followers on Tumblr!
You for reading the 3306 words in this post!
I am thrilled by the fact that I know these connections have been made by real people and not all my husband just clicking like on everything just to make me feel better! I love each and every person out there who has made a connection with me and I pray for them everyday! I do hope to have more success with my writing. I humbly hope to reach more people, to be inspired by them and to inspire them to live an authentic life. The only way I know this is happening online is to measure my success by using numbers. I think about how each of these sets of numbers represents real people all the time. I hope to add zeros to the ends of all the numbers above the next time I look at these statistics. But honestly, if the numbers do not increase at all, I would continue this path. It is so rewarding to share my thoughts with all of you who care about me.
The main thing I want to express to you (especially to those of you who are still actually reading this!) is that what makes this experience so incredible is all of the influence and support of all the people I am meeting along the way. I took the time to list them and give them credit because I am so very grateful for the way they have touched my life.
Each of the elements I have experienced so far alone would have been enriching and exciting for me to explore, but having them all happen together is life enhancing. It has been like falling in love with life. When you fall in love, you just know. When you are doing something that makes you happy and feel good, everything just falls into place. It feels like I know my way around here and I like the direction this road is leading! For now, I have enjoyed stopping and taking a look at the amazing scenery which surrounds me each and every day.
Life should be fun, right? I totally think so! I wish everything was fun. Or, even more fun! We love to laugh in our family. I am grateful for all the different kinds of laughter. I love when people have “laugh-lines” instead of wrinkles. I love when people laugh at my jokes or think I am funny. I love to tickle little kids. I still try to tickle mine. I love smiles and snickers, giggles, and guffaws. Welcome to my very own “Fun Zone”! Tell me, what makes you laugh?
Here are my favorite laughs:
I know a kid who loves babies and kittens. He’s a pretty tough guy most of the time, but has a soft spot for cute adorable little things. There is this sound that he makes when he sees something that strikes a chord. . . a high-pitched whiny “Ohhaawwhh!” Followed by a an airy gutteral half-laugh as if in utter disbelief that anything could be so cute.
This one is a crack-up to witness and then hilarious when you join in. It’s that uncontrollable contagious giggle-snort-laugh that you just can’t stop and at first think it’s annoying until you get it too and everything seems funny and you just keep laughing and laughing until your eyes water and you think you might have just peed in your pants!!!!
The head-shake/nervous laugh combo. AKA the “tell.” When I want to know what happened and I say something totally funny and I get this reaction, I know they either don’t get the joke or they are up to something. I don’t want to give away my secrets, but I can read this one like a book!
The sigh giggle that girls make when they are in love. It starts with a deep breath and then a light “hahhhh. . . . hee hee hee. They most likely are thinking about something he said or did. Ah, young love. Butterflies. Hearts and roses.
The histerical outburst laugh that is made when you are reading something funny. I’ll hear this once in awhile from my kids when they are playing a video game or using head phones, too. It’s that loud. . . “HA!” followed by, “Oh my God!” Ha ha ha ha ahhh ha ha!! Chuckle chuckle. . . trails off and then another “Ha!”
The laugh so hard you scare yourself gut-busting laugh. This is the one that can actually wear you out if you keep it up long enough. I went to a comedy club when I was pregnant once and the comedian was so funny, I laughed so hard I thought I was going to hurt the baby! Comedy shows and movies are always on at my house and laughter is going on all the time. I just love it!!
This is my reaction to, Journal Prompt – Bright Ideas: Cultivating and Capturing Good Ideas by C. A. Kobu on April 9, 2012
(Holly, That’s all it is, don’t worry!!)
Un-confessions. . .
I’m fat and I am not sorry!
I’m lazy (sometimes) and I am not sorry!
I don’t always pay my bills on time and I am not sorry!
I let my bank accounts go overdrawn. I am not sorry.
I don’t answer my cell phone when it rings and I am not sorry.
I usually don’t listen to my voicemail messages, either. I am not sorry.
I spend beyond my means sometimes. I am not sorry.
I like being a working mom and I’m not sorry.
Sometimes I hate working. Again, not sorry!
I don’t wear makeup and nail polish at all times and I am not sorry about it.
My house gets messy and cluttered and I am really not sorry.
Here is what I really feel about it. Rather than apologizing for things being the way they are, I am going to say what I really mean. I wish I was better at this. I accept myself the way I am, but I sometimes think I should make an improvement. These are my shortcomings, where I fall short of the standards that I would like to see myself achieve. I am not really sorry that things are the way they are because this is me. I like me! I like myself just the way I am. I’m pretty sure my family does, too! I am proud of who I am. I know that nobody is perfect and I do not strive for perfection.
What I value most in life is love, comfort and happiness. That is my wish for everybody. That is what I have been blessed with, in abundance! I am a positive person. I see the bright side of things. I do not know why I have been apologizing about myself and my lifestyle. I have no idea who I am making excuses to, other than my inner voice. I won’t deny my inner voice, because without that prodding I would NEVER clean anything, put on make-up or eat another salad!! These are good things that I do care about. BUT, I AM NOT SORRY!
I am satisfied with the way I look and feel right now. I will continue to make healthy choices and be good to my body.
Let’s replace “laziness” with “resting.” I need to rest sometimes.
Bottom line, I pay my bills.
I need to be more responsible about my bank balance.
The best way to reach me is by text or email. If you need to talk to me or want to chat, the best time to call is on the weekend mornings.
I always find a way to provide my family with what we need and want. It’s what I do. I am careful about not going into debt.
Work is work. It can’t be all rainbows and sunshine everyday! Juggling work, home and kids is a circus act – fun, exciting, entertaining, but like juggling, it can be exhausting and risky!
I want to look my best at all times. I can do this without piling on make-up and going to the salon every week.
My home is a lived in home where my family finds peace, comfort and joy.
“If I was not so busy, I would . . .”
This is the statement that I am truly most sorry for! There are so many things that I want to do creatively, socially, civilly, for and with my family and friends. I often use the excuse that I am too busy. It’s not true. It’s a lie. And I am so sorry! I do get overwhelmed at times and I do have lots on my mind. Most likely, I am resting and playing Words with Friends, or Bejeweled Blast. I will continue to strive to complete my projects and keep my commitments. I will communicate clearly with my family about what my intentions are and continue to post my work on my blog.
Blogging has become important to me. I am meeting wonderful new people and my creativity is thriving. My photography has improved. I threw an amazing dinner party, I decorated Easter eggs, I have been sewing costumes, and building websites. This year has been one creative project after another and I love it! (Singing. . .”I Loooove IT!”)
I can’t put a face on fear. I can’t picture it at all.
I can identify many images, thoughts and feelings with fear. . .
Did you hear that?
That feeling that someone is watching me
Eerie gusts of wind
A cold chill
A bad taste in my mouth
A sense that something bad is about to happen
Those days when everything goes wrong
Waiting for test results
Getting a phone call late at night
The cats are acting weird again
Getting chills down my spine
Getting that feeling in my gut
My knees are shaking
Feeling a tremor, is it the big one?
Getting called to the boss’ office
Hearing the words, “We need to talk.”
Hearing a sonic boom
Hearing random fireworks. . . or, is that a gun shot?
Watching the news
Feeling a lump
Thinking about death
Wondering, “What if?”
How do I react to fear?
I’m scared. CLAIM IT
I’m worried. ACKNOWLEDGE IT
I’m unsure. FACE IT
What’s the worst that can happen? QUESTION IT
Hold me! SEEK REASSURANCE
Whatever happens, it is going to be okay. ACCEPT IT
Just breathe! PROCESS IT
I can do this. BE CONFIDENT
I can get through this. BE FAITHFUL
I am ready! BE COURAGEOUS
I believe in myself. BE GRATEFUL
It’s well-known that fear and gratitude cannot coexist. “Gratitude requires us to stay in the now. Fear is living in the future. That’s why gratitude and fear cannot coexist. If you fill yourself with gratitude you will notice that your anxious thoughts and fear dissolve.”
Fearing the unknown (or uncomfortable) in a business venture or relationship can be dispelled by true grit and courage. When we are facing our deepest darkest fears and demons this feeling of doom can be lifted by thoughts of gratitude. Count your blessing next time you start to get worried. Fill your heart with gratitude and the fears will disappear.
It’s funny how the word “Creative” is now a name for people who are creative. I can say, “I am hanging out with the creatives today.” That’s new, isn’t it?
I have had a huge burst and subsequent constant flow of creativity in the past few months. It started around Thanksgiving. About this time last year, just after Spring Break, I was approached by a friend to help coordinate a fundraising event at my church. It was a big deal and I put a lot of work into it. A LOT! It was a major success and it is probably what started me on my way “back” from the doldrums and into my creative flow. It helped that I had some left over supplies like feathers and beads!
Blogging, writing poetry, taking pictures, making video slide shows, doing crafts, making jewelry, making costumes, decorating for parties – these are all creative expressions that I enjoy. That part is important. Everything I do expresses who I am. When I create something, it becomes an extension of me. It contains a part of me. It is what I do to enjoy life. Being productive, creating things and giving them to the people who I love is what I do. It is who I am.
I don’t have a muse. I don’t think I need one. I like to make things when the feeling strikes or when I get an idea. Sometimes that is late at night or at an inopportune time. I have to hold it in my head or write it down until I can work on it. I don’t think I could ever make a living – or work for someone else – as an artist. In that case, I would need a muse to motivate me! The best part of being “a creative” is that it is entirely up to me when I want to make something, how to make it, if I finish it, what ever “it” is, it’s all up to me. That is how I like it!
AYWM 12 “Breakthrough: Discovering and Defining the Real Meaning of Success.”
Christopher Reeves had once said, “I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”
1. the favourable outcome of something attempted
2. the attainment of wealth, fame, etc.
3. an action, performance, etc., that is characterized by success
4. a person or thing that is successful
S-u-c-c-e-s-s- that’s the way we spell success!
Every time I hear the word success, I think of that cheer. It’s about the way to victory. Cheering a team on, going for the win, being victorious, being the best, outreaching the expectations, being better than the other team. That is what the cheer encourages. That is what I learned was the meaning of success.
What does success mean to me now?
After thinking about it and reflecting on the exercises from A Year with Myself, I would define my personal success as being happy and satisfied with my life.
Generally speaking, I have acheived success in many ways. I have a successful marriage. We are still going strong and very happy after twenty years. I have successfully raised three bright, charming, healthy sons. I have been successful at managing and maintaining my health. Together with my husband, we own our home and our vehicles. We have travelled and have made a place for ourselves in our community. I have many wonderful friends and a terrific supportive family. In life, I have reached success. But I am always striving for more.
I do not think being successful is a one time thing. I do not think you either have it or you don’t. It is the success of each endeavor or project that I am striving for. Currently, that is blogging. It also applies to my job, my home, my kids, and all of my projects and ideas.
I might not be successful at everything I try. I might not even complete every project I begin. As long as I continue to try, that is success to me.
“Success means doing the best we can with what we have. Success is the doing, not the getting — it is the trying, not the triumph. Success is a personal standard — reaching for the highest that is in us — becoming all that we can be. If we do our best, we are a success. Success is the maximum utilization of the ability that you have.” – Zig Ziglar
My very wise and insightful twelve year old son said this when I asked him, What is the definition of success?”: “Success means getting to where you want or need to go.”
I hope to keep a youthful attitude about success. There may be many stops along the way, but I know I will be a great success when I arrive!
This post is all about adventure! Particularly women as adventurers.
Adventure may mean different things to different people. But it’s a fact that it gives life zest and spark and is directly linked to creativity. Besides, you don’t have to be an adrenaline addict or thrill junkie to enjoy the spirit of adventure.
The theme is “Spirit of Adventure: How to Invite Adventure and Enjoy Serendipity.”
In the last AYWM post I mused about my vision for my life and my future. I now believe that I can do it if I can see it. I made a vision board and looked at photos of things that I want to make happen in my life. Now, it is time to set sail on my quest. I will discover my dreams. I will be an adventurer!
Creative Project Coach, Sue Mitchell, discusses the relationship of adventure, serendipity and creativity and how being adventurous helps creative projects. She talks about building self-confidence and finding life’s meaning through being adventurous and how inviting more adventure into your life, awakens the adventurer in you.
It has been said that, “Adventure is the marrow of life.” I have been encouraged to work to achieve the essence of the vision I’ve created, and to feel free to shake off any rigidity about how that has to look. Apparently, adventure awaits me! Let’s see. . .
Serendipity is an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.
When it comes to designing my life, I have always left room for you, Serendipity. You have been so gracious and helpful in being just where I needed you when I needed you, even when I didn’t know it myself. Your ways are so subtle and delicate. Like the wind, you blow in and allow me to join you if I care to, never making me feel guilty, sometimes hardly noticeable, always there. You aren’t mysterious or obvious, although your ways are mysterious to me! You show up when the timing is right, and I always feel like you heard me calling out to you even when I had no voice. I would say that when things go your way, it is a happy accident. Being in the right place at the right time is one thing, but when one thing leads to another and everything falls into place, that is when my heart smiles because I know I did the right thing listening to you to begin with. You encourage me to take risks sometimes, I like that! You are always with me when I travel and venture out. You make the best things happen at parties and on vacations! It’s always unexpected and fun! When I started this year with writing my blog and devoting myself to the exercises in “A Year with Myself” I made no plan, no design, other than to discover. Thank you for being there to make it enjoyable, interesting and exciting! I look forward to seeing you present yourself throughout my journey this year. I will try to remain open to the possibilities and be on the look out for you around each corner!
Adventure is an exciting or very unusual experience, participation in exciting undertakings or enterprises:
the spirit of adventure.
At the beginning of 2012, I resolved to make experiencemy focus. I planned to be fully engaged in each moment and enjoy each experience that either came my way or that I created for myself and my family. I had no idea that the Spirit of Adventure would be along for the ride! Your involvement has helped me realize that every day can be an adventure if I want it to be! I have been meeting so many wonderful new people and I have had opportunities to do some pretty amazing things. Having you on my side is making life so much more interesting and hopeful. I am so happy and excited about the blogging, writing and photography and I love that you lend yourself to my creativity and joy. I appreciate having you with my on my journey and I am glad I can count on you to continue to make things exciting and fun while I plan the direction I will take throughout my life!
Dear Serendipity and Adventure,
You are cordially invited to join me as I strive to reach the following goals in my life. . .
I want to be a writer. I want to gain readership. I plan to start by writing and blogging, participating in the 52 week process of AYWM and then turn that experience into a book. I also want to write a novel and guest host on other blogs and magazines. My hope is to be inspired as I inspire others. I want to keep up the endorphins that I get when I write and let that happy feeling spread to my family and friends. Like a runner’s high – it can be contagious. So many people have already told me that they see a difference in me. I hope that it affects the people I love most in my life as much as my friendship affects people when we first meet. I want to help people and I want to improve my life as I go along. I want to be a successful published writer and enjoy the fruits of my success to finally put the money woes behind me and secure a future for my kids and for myself and my husband. I want to be able to freelance and write and work from home and for myself by the time my youngest son graduates from high school. I want to lay the groundwork now and build it for my future. I want to do what I am passionate about. I want to be myself and be true to my self and to my core values. I want to express myself creatively and make a difference in this world. I want to make a splash!
What I really want to achieve is to live a life doing what I am passionate about doing (writing) and making money doing it in order to eventually be able to work from home and be my own boss. Ways I can do this: start now. Write anything and everything. See everything as an opportunity. Write reviews of all of my experiences. Blog blog blog. Attend blogger conferences. Take writing classes. Meet other writers. Send writing examples to publishers. Self publish. Do poetry readings. Network and give my business card and the link to my blog to everyone I meet. I won’t be shy. I will seize the day. Ask friends for help. Get advice from other accomplished writers. Read more. Read magazines and articles. Follow more blogs. Publish old poems and writings. Copyright material. Write a business plan, vision and mission for a writing business. Write a story board for my novel. Write outlines for all of my ideas. Contact writers and artists that have inspired me by twitter, and email. Establish a focus on my style of writing. Practice writing. Get organized. Pray. Ask God to guide me.
I will work to develop the inner resources to follow through on my dream project.
When I was a little girl everything was an adventure. I lived in a world of adults. Some of my favorite adventures involved tagging along with my parents or my siblings and being given adult responsibilities. I have been thinking a lot lately of the groups that my mom was a part of. I was the mascot of the Women’s Air-force Mother’s Club. Being in women’s groups now online I realize the necessity of a support group and I love the positive ways that women support one another.
Besides tagging along with my parents, we also took lots of road trips and went camping. My parents were pretty adventurous, however subtle. My mom loved going for walks when we would camp at KOA’s and we often would come across a cemetery. I think walking through a cemetery with my mom was an adventure of imagination because we would make up stories of the people who were buried there.
There are few times I remember doing anything on my own or without my parents. I went on trips with my school that were fun. But the best times were those trips with my folks.
Once I learned to drive I became an explorer. If I took a wrong turn I never considered myself lost, just on an adventure. I have never had the feeling of being physically lost. I always knew I could either find my way home or end up going somewhere special. Some of the best experiences I have had have been stumbled upon.
In researching about adventure, I learned that there is a big difference between being an adventurer and being an adventuress. I thought it would be fun to look at some literary examples of both.
Dating back to the beginning of Modern Times, women such as myself have dreamed of being adventurous.
The definition of Adventuress is: A woman who seeks social and financial advancement by unscrupulous means. A woman who seeks adventure, especially one who seeks success or money through daring exploits.
Just as in the book, THE ADVENTURESS by Coralie Stanton GROSSET & DUNLAP, 1907, Miriam Lemiere is described as, “This woman who spoke half a dozen languages with perfect ease, who painted, sculptured, wrote; who could hold her own with men and politicians; who knew the last word in everything; and who had she lived in fifteenth century would have ruled kingdoms and altered the destinies of nations, was nothing more or less than a moneylender – a society vampire.” “. . . There was always something great, something magnificent, about her wickedness.”
In another book by the same title written almost 100 years later,we have yet another example of an adventuress. In The Adventuress (2006)A Graphic Novel by Audrey Niffenegger, the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Time Traveler’s Wife, returns with another evocative “novel in pictures,” the much-anticipated follow-up to 2005’s The Three Incestuous Sisters. The Adventuress follows the dreamlike journey of an alchemist’s daughter. After she is kidnapped by a lascivious baron, she turns herself into a moth and flees to the garden of a charming butterfly collector named Napoleon Bonaparte. The story of how the two become lovers, and how their affair ends in tragedy and transcendence, is told through Niffenegger’s spare prose and haunting aquatint etchings. With a stunning and distinctive visual style reminiscent of the work of Edward Gorey, this gothic romance packs the emotional heft of the world’s great fairy tales.
A further search for ‘adventuress’ brought me to a page primarily about famous female pirates and adventuresses, or women of great adventure and courage.
There have been many women of the past who didn’t want to live within the confines of society’s idea of what a woman should be. Some of the ladies were willing to dress as men in order to go out into the world and fulfill their passions. Many of those women were pirates. They actually lived and were real, they were not fairy tale characters!
An adventuress was willing to go to any lengths to escape her bonds. An adventuress was willing to be unpopular.
Some went where no man had gone before. Others held the torch for women to follow. All faced risks and overcame them.
So let’s take a look at some of the greatest adventurers who have really made a splash and led the way to go where no one had gone before.
True inspiring stories of women who were true explorers and lived the spirit of adventure.
Nellie Bly 1864-1922 Journalist
(born May 5, 1864, Cochran’s Mills, Pa., U.S.—died Jan. 27, 1922, New York, N.Y.) U.S. newspaper writer. Bly started writing for The Pittsburgh Dispatch in 1885, producing feature articles on such subjects as divorce and slum life. After joining the New York World, she feigned insanity to get into an asylum and wrote an exposé that brought about needed reforms. Beginning in 1889, in an attempt to beat the fictional record in Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days, she circled the globe in about 72 days, 6 hours. The much-publicized trip made her by name a celebrated synonym for a female star reporter.
Susan Butcher 1954-2006 Athlete
Born Susan Howlet Butcher on December 26, 1954 in Boston, Massachusetts. Susan Butcher was raised in Cambridge and studied to become a veterinarian technician at Colorado State University. She eventually moved to Alaska to pursue her passion for dogsled racing and to train for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
Susan Butcher competed in her first Iditarod in 1985, but was forced to withdraw early after two of her dogs were killed and six were injured in an accident involving a moose. She went on to win the grueling race in 1986, 1987, 1988 and 1990. In doing so, she became the second four-time winner and the first to win four out of five sequential years. Susan Butcher dominated the sport for over a decade, placing in the top five 12 times during her career. She has won several honors, including the National Women’s Sports Foundation Amateur Athlete of The Year Award, the U.S. Victor Award and Female Athlete of the Year award.
In 2005, Susan Butcher was diagnosed with leukemia. She died on August 5, 2006 and is survived by her husband, attorney and fellow dog racer David Monson, and their two daughters, Tekla and Chisana.
Amelia Earhart 1897-1939 Pilot
At a Long Beach air show in 1920, Amelia Earhart took a plane ride that transformed her life. It was only 10 minutes, but when she landed she knew she had to learn to fly. Working at a variety of jobs, from photographer to truck driver, she earned enough money to take flying lessons from pioneer female aviator Anita “Neta” Snook. Earhart immersed herself in learning to fly. She read everything she could find on flying, and spent much of her time at the airfield. She cropped her hair short, in the style of other women aviators. Worried what the other, more experienced pilots might think of her, she even slept in her new leather jacket for three nights to give it a more “worn” look.
In the summer of 1921, Earhart purchased a second-hand Kinner Airster biplane painted bright yellow. She nicknamed it “The Canary,” and set out to make a name for herself in aviation. On October 22, 1922, she flew her plane to 14,000 feet—the world altitude record for female pilots. On May 15, 1923, Amelia Earhart became the 16th woman to be issued a pilot’s license. She had several notable flights and became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic in 1928, and the first person to have flown both oceans. In 1937, she mysteriously disappeared while trying to circumnavigate the globe from the equator.
Gertrude Ederle 1906-2003 Athlete
Ederle early became an avid swimmer. She was a leading exponent of the eight-beat crawl (eight kicks for each full arm stroke) and between 1921 and 1925 held 29 national and world amateur swimming records. In 1922 she broke seven records in a single afternoon at Brighton Beach, N.Y. At the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris she was a member of the U.S. team that won a gold medal in the 4 100-metre freestyle relay. She also captured bronze medals in the 100-metre and 400-metre freestyle events.
In 1925 Ederle made an unsuccessful attempt to swim the English Channel, but the following year she returned to France to try again. In the face of widespread doubt that a woman could accomplish the feat, she set out from Cape Gris-Nez near Calais, France, on August 6 and swam the 35 miles (56 km) to Dover, Kent, Eng., in 14 hours 31 minutes, beating the men’s world record by 1 hour 59 minutes. Ederle was greeted on her return to New York City by a ticker-tape parade, and she toured for a time as a professional swimmer. A series of misfortunes, culminating in a serious back injury in 1933, ended her public career for a time, but in 1939 she appeared in Billy Rose’s Aquacade at the New York World’s Fair.
Ederle, whose hearing was permanently impaired while achieving her English Channel triumph, later became a swimming instructor for deaf children. She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1965 and the Women’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1980.
Sally Ride 1951- Educator, Astronaut, Physicist
Born on May 26, 1951, in Los Angeles, California. Sally Ride made history in 1983 when she became the first American woman in space. She grew up in Los Angeles and went to Stanford University where she was a double major in physics and English. Ride received bachelor’s degrees in both subjects in 1973. She continued to study physics at the university, earning a master’s degree in 1975 and a Ph.D. in 1978.
That same year, Sally Ride beat out 1,000 other applicants for a spot in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) astronaut program. She went through the program’s rigorous training program and got her chance to go into space and the record books in 1983. On June 18, Ride became the first American woman in space aboard the space shuttle Challenger. As a mission specialist, she helped deploy satellites and worked other projects. She returned to Earth on June 24.
The next year, Sally Ride again served as a mission specialist on a space shuttle flight in October. She was scheduled to take a third trip, but it was cancelled after the tragic Challenger accident on January 28, 1986. After the accident, Ride served on the presidential commission that investigated the space shuttle explosion.
After NASA, Sally Ride became the director of the California Space Institute at the University of California, San Diego, as well as a professor of physics at the school in 1989. In 2001, she started her own company to create educational programs and products known as Sally Ride Science to help inspire girls and young women to pursue their interests in science and math. Ride serves as president and CEO.
For her contributions to her field and to society, Sally Ride has received many honors, including the NASA Space Flight Medal and the NCAA’s Theodore Roosevelt Award. She has been inducted to the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the Astronaut Hall of Fame.
Sacagawea 1788-1812 Interpreter
Daughter of a Shoshone chief, it is not known exactly when she was born. Some sources say 1788 while others say 1787 and 1786. Around the age of 12, Sacagawea was captured by Hidatsa Indians, an enemy of the Shoshones. She was then sold to a French-Canadian trapper named Toussaint Charbonneau who made her one of his wives.
Sacagawea and her husband lived among the Hidatsa and Mandan Indians in the upper Missouri River area (present-day North Dakota). In November 1804, an expedition led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark entered the area. Often called the Corps of Discovery, the expedition planned to explore newly acquired western lands and find a route to the Pacific Ocean. The group built Fort Mandan, and elected to stay there for the winter. Lewis and Clark met Charbonneau and quickly hired him to serve as interpreter on their expedition. Even though she was pregnant with her first child, Sacagawea was chosen to accompany them on their mission. Lewis and Clark believed that her knowledge of the Shoshone language would help them later in their journey.
In February 1805, Sacagawea gave birth to a son named Jean Baptiste Charbonneau. Despite traveling with a newborn child during the trek, Sacagawea proved to be helpful in many ways. She was skilled at finding edible plants. When a boat she was riding on capsized, she was able to save some of its cargo, including important documents and supplies. She also served as a symbol of peace – a group traveling with a woman and a child were treated with less suspicion than a group of men alone.
Sacagawea also made a miraculous discovery of her own during the trip west. When the corps encountered a group of Shoshone Indians, she soon realized that its leader was actually her brother Cameahwait. It was through her that the expedition was able to buy horses from the Shoshone to cross the Rocky Mountains. Despite this joyous family reunion, Sacagawea remained with the explorers for the trip west.
After reaching the Pacific coast in November 1805, Sacagawea was allowed to cast her vote along with the other members of the expedition for where they would build a fort to stay for the winter. They built Fort Clatsop near present-day Astoria, Oregon, and they remained there until March of the following year. Sacagawea, her husband, and her son remained with the expedition on the return trip east until they reached the Mandan villages.
So, what do I want to be? An explorer? An adventurer? An adventuress? Perhaps a mash-up of all of these examples!
Recently I noticed my vision had declined. I was getting headaches with or without my glasses. At first I attributed this to the fact that I was reading more and I was either looking at a computer screen or my cell phone practically non-stop. The eyestrain was really getting to me and I realized it was time for a stronger prescription. I tried using reading glasses until I could get an appointment to see my optometrist. But that only helped with the reading. My distance vision was worse as well. I wear bifocals because I have four different perspectives. It’s ironic because I always say I look at things from all angles!
After seeing my eye doctor and finding out that I did need stronger lenses, I had to go a week without my glasses. I used the reading glasses, but I was troubled that I couldn’t see well at all. Once confirmed by the doctor, I felt as though I had lost an ability that I relied on and it felt inadequate to me. Everything seemed out of place. I couldn’t wait to get my new glasses!
When I finally did get them and put them on for the first time, I was so excited! Everything seemed bigger and brighter! I was amazed at the difference. How did I function that way for so long? Why did I put myself through that? The solution was so simple. It was literally right before my very eyes. Having a vision is quite literally like seeing with clarity. It is a bigger and brighter view of the future.
My life’s vision is to live freely, enjoying the special moments that mean the most to me and to see my children, husband, family and friends living their lives to their full potential, happily and peacefully. To live a successful life is to realize one’s hopes and dreams. It is my hope to live a long and healthy life, peacefully and joyfully, and inspiring others to do the same.
Well, that sounds so nice doesn’t it? All packaged up and tied with a pretty satin bow. But that is what I do. It is what I want. But how do I get there? What specifically does it mean? What tangible and concrete things do I see when I look ahead at how I want my life to be? What do I see myself accomplishing in my lifetime, what do I see myself achieving, what do I aim to do with my life? (Yes, I hear Twisted Sister in my head, too!)
If it is about what I feel and what my heart needs to be fulfilled, then the above vision statement sums it up. I can and will strive for peace and joy because I honestly believe that is what will satisfy me and sustain me for the rest of my life. But if you ask my brain what do I envision, I have goals and things that I want as well. There are things that I would like to “get out of life.” I have made a vision board for those things. I believe that if I see those things and put it “out there” then they will happen. I will do what needs to be done to obtain them. I will always be working towards those dreams to make them a reality.
There are many things that I have wanted in life that I have already achieved. I used to make lists and set goals for the things I wanted. My goals were like many young Americans; buy a car, go to college, have a career, get married, buy a home, have children. I also wanted to travel, go to concerts and plays, have friends and entertain. When my children were young, I hoped to be able to send them to a private school like the one I attended and I wanted them to be active, involved and for them to have a relationship with their grandparents I made those things happen. All of it. My husband and I shared those dreams and together we worked towards them and achieved them.
In my late thirties and early forties, I went through a period of “now what?” I felt this way especially after both of my parents passed away. A part of me always worked towards those goals to gain their approval, to please them, and for them to be proud of me. After they passed away, I realized that I only have myself to please. To do that I needed to build my self-confidence, my self-esteem, and gain a sense of self-pride. I shifted my focus to my husband and children. Not only in getting their approval and praise for the things I wanted to accomplish myself, but primarily to help them achieve their goals and to help them enjoy their lives with grace and happiness. This became my purpose. This is where I believe I am meant to be. This is what I love most about my life right now.
To me, getting the most out of life means to accept all things as they are and make the most out of whatever life deals you. Knowing that I cannot control everything (I know, shocking isn’t it?) I must accept the things that “happen to me.” But that doesn’t mean sitting around waiting for the next thing to happen. Good or bad, I know I will deal with it. My experience tells me that. I must work to make some things happen. Just hoping and dreaming is not enough. This is where having a clear vision comes into play. Envisioning myself doing the things that I am passionate about, whether that means achieving certain goals or enjoying the experiences that life has to offer, is like having the tools I need to navigate through life. Having a vision is like having a gauge, compass and a map. (And the right glasses, of course!) Am I on the right track? Am I doing enough? What more can I do? What direction should I choose?
I love the feeling of flying, of freedom, of being light-hearted and exuberant. Nothing feels better than gliding along happily. At some point I will need to land. I must have a firm foundation on which to grasp when I do come in for a landing. That is when having a map comes in handy!
AYWM 10: You Can Do It If You Can See It
So far in completing the journal prompts from A Year with Myself I have explored and identified my values, my strengths, my passion, my personality type, and what makes me different and authentic. All that inner work has prepared me for creating a vision for my life. Having a vision is important to me. Having a vision is synonymous with having clarity about the rest of my life and what I want to do with it.
As C.A. Kobu puts it, “Aiming for a target you can see is wiser than taking blind shots into a pitch-black terrain. Hence, you can do it if you can see it!”
By creating my vision, I hope to be not only inspired but also empowered because vision means intent. And intent is quite powerful in making our dreams come true.
Abby Kerr says “Vision, the way I see it, is the ability or capacity to apprehend what you really want and believe you can do. After all, if you can envision it, on some level you must believe it’s possible, right?” “You’re the only one who can fulfill it, after all, and it can’t play out without you. You can’t miss it or mess it up. You can only unfold it choice by choice, reiterating as necessary, and staying in the moment with it.”
plan a party and celebrate with all my family and friends
go to the beach
see as many sunsets and sunrises as possible
go for long drives
not wear a bra
eat my favorite foods – Numero Uno pizza, fresh Maine lobster, red chile and sopapillas, chocolate mousse pie, cheesecake, ice cream, bacon, cheese blintzes with strawberry preserves, pancake sandwich with eggs over easy, bacon and maple syrup, steamed artichokes with mayo
drink a lot of alcohol
write letters to my boys
finish a scrap book for each of my boys
visit New York City
make love like there is no tomorrow
make love outdoors
post all my pictures online
keep the kids out of school
eat out and not cook, no laundry or cleaning
read my poetry at an open mic night
call all my friends and tell them I love them
give away my things – pictures and jewelry and anything I have that anyone wants or needs
camp by a lake
eat ice cream for breakfast and cereal for dessert
rent a convertible sports car
listen to my favorite music loud all day
sing whenever I feel like it
watch my husband and kids perform their music
watch my kids play sports
do anything my kids and husband want to do like race go carts or sky diving
grant wishes – even if it means cooking my family’s favorite meals
get a puppy
I won’t say no to anything, I will accept all invitations
buy a really nice dress suit for my funeral
shop for others and give gifts to people like it’s Christmas
get a massage as often as possible
have a mani-pedi every week
get my hair done and have a facial at a swanky salon
I think all of the things on my list point to living my life freely and enjoying the things that come my way. As for the more concrete things that I hope to acheive, I have created a vision board. Providing I live longer than 37 days, which I fully intend to do, I think it will be amazing to see all of the things on my board become reality. I can’t wait for the day it becomes necessary to make a new one! (I’ll need another new pair of glasses by then for sure!)
AYWM 9: “Authenticity: Emphasizing What Makes You Different”
In the past few weeks I have evaluated my strengths and looked at the things that I am passionate about. This week I am thinking about what it means to be authentic and what makes me different.
I agree with C.A. Kabu who says that authenticity is a funny thing. She says, “You know it if it’s there, and you definitely know when it’s not. Defining authenticity requires much introspection. You have to think about your character, your values, your strengths, and their intersections. Eventually, you realize that the definition of authenticity is perhaps simpler than you expected. You can, for instance, reach the conclusion that being authentic is actually related to having a sense of who you are and sharing it with the world without reservations.”
Considering this helped me to determine why I should care about being authentic, how I can fully embrace my uniqueness, and how my life can change when I remain true to myself.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I have a kinda “been here, done this” feeling as I go through these exercises. I have been enjoying going through old journals and comparing my perceptions of my life from ten years ago to now. Some of the questions I asked myself back in 2001 are very similar to the introspective I am working on now. What fascinates me most is that even though I am most definitely in a different place now than I was back then, and I have changed and matured in many ways, the core of my being, my beliefs and values are very much the same. I do live an authentic life. It is when I lose sight of who I am and who I strive to be, that things get difficult.
In 2001, I asked myself the following questions at the beginning of a journal that I called. “I Love My Life.” By answering these questions, I was able to determine who I was and who I wanted to be. I believe this is when I embraced authenticity and learned to love myself.
Is my overall outlook on life marked by hope and optimism?
Are there things in my life that I am passionate about?
At the conclusion of a day or week, do I often have a warm sense of satisfaction about my accomplishments and contributions?
Can I become very still and experience a sense of peace?
Do some parts of my life bring me a healthy sense of pride?
You Are a Snowflake, Right?
By Karen Caterson
Hi, Snowflake. You are a snowflake, right?
We all are! I mean, we’re all unique, beautiful, one-of-a-kind—just like snowflakes.
Of course, all of us gorgeous, individual snowflakes are also part of our culture, our society—our SNOW.
And there are a lot of wonderful things about SNOW. Joining with other snowflakes can be fun (think snow forts, snow fights, snow angels, and snowmen).
In our culture most of the emphasis is on the SNOW, way less on our uniqueness— our individual snowflake beauty.
We can even lose our snowflake-ness to the SNOW.
We all are snowflakes (unique and beautiful), but we’re not always comfortable with that.
Sometimes even thinking about our snowflake qualities (our differences, our beauty) makes us squirm—we can feel more like a flake than a snowflake.
But knowing our differences—and living them is what makes us authentic. And being authentic leads to making a difference in the world as we share our unique offerings!
So, how do we emphasize what makes us different—when we’re not always comfortable with our uniqueness (our snowflake-ness)?
It starts with awareness, mindfulness.
We can allow ourselves to get curious about the times when we feel or think differently than SNOW (than whatever is status quo at the time).
Many of us really enjoy connection, so we intuitively look for ways that we’re like others—ways we agree.
Purposely looking for how we think and feel differently can seem very odd, but continued mindfulness and curious reflection about our differences (our uniqueness) will grow into being more comfortable with our snowflake-ness… and that will grow into our snowflake beauty being emphasized naturally.
There is no one in this world that is exactly like me. My thoughts and feelings are entirely my own. Sometimes I feel like there are no original ideas. I strive to be different. I want to stand out. I want to shine. If I have an idea, I Google it. I am always disappointed, but not surprised, that someone somewhere has already thought of it. As a young person, I thought I was a trend-setter. Truthfully, I was trendy. But I spent a lot of time with people who weren’t so they thought I was the fashion-forward person. Did that make me a poser? No way! I always knew what I liked and I was not afraid to be me. I think that is what being authentic means. Not being afraid to stand up for oneself and being courageous enough to show your true colors.
I would say that I am off the charts when it comes to living my life authentically. Do I sound conceited? Why shouldn’t I have a sense of self-pride? I just did some serious soul-searching about what makes me unique and special. I can’t get over my bad self right now! I am on this! Right? Well, okay. The truth is sometimes, it fluctuates. I feel that lost feeling, like I am feeling my way through a forest. Things don’t always go my way. I resist or try to control things. I fall short of my potential. I start to listen to that critical inner voice. When I remember how good things truly are and I remember my focus, I can find my path fairly easily.
Right now the path is illuminated with those new bulbs that are supposed to last six times as long as the old kind and be more energy-efficient. . . and I see where I am going. It’s a lovely road that includes a lot of fun stops along the way. In six months from now I would like to be writing regularly and maintaining my blog while maintaining the balance of managing a home with three teen boys and working full-time. My goal for this period of time is to give each area of my life my all. Mostly, I want to be happy, keep up the energy that I am experiencing now, and stay true to myself. And as C.A. Kobu says, “When you are in touch with who you really are and welcome your authentic self with open arms, your life acquires a different and marvelous flow, and you feel oh so good!” Oh yeah! I sure do!