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.
This week, on the other hand, is all about ideas and creative sparks.
The exciting theme of this module is “Bright Ideas: Cultivating and Capturing Good Ideas.”
As Michael Michalko says, (I found this to be poetic and profound. . .)
“When you surround yourself with images of your intention—
who you want to become or what you want to create—
your awareness and passion grows.”
My awareness and passion grows. . . yes! I recall my mantra . . .
“I commit my passion to my cause, knowing that passion is the power that creates new life, new joys, and new accomplishments for myself and others.”
And ideas are the marrow of creative intention.
At the same time, they are the wild horses of our minds.
They hate to be fenced in. So if you want to capture them and help them grow into beautiful projects, you have to use other methods.
This week, I got together with Dyana Valentine, who is a fiery instigator and idea midwife, and Tom Evans, who is known as the wizard of light-bulb moments. We discussed methods for sparking creativity, capturing ideas and turning the right ones into projects.
I’m Not Sorry
By Dyana Valentine
There is something I really want to say to you about the way that we could decide to move through the world.
We could decide that today we would not apologize for who we are.
We could decide that every time we say, “I’m sorry,” today, we say, “Wait, wait let me think about that. Am I really sorry? Or did I mean excuse me? Or did I mean I’m afraid?”
Let’s clarify what we mean by that.
And lets move through the world without apology where it’s not due.
What is your story of “I’m not sorry”? Write about it.
Think about the creative ideas you’ve executed (or thought about executing) so far and those you are cultivating today. Which ideas are you not sorry about? Express your feelings by writing or painting about not being sorry about your ideas and sticking up for them.
The rest is me. . . Okay, here I go!
I feel the need to expand on the creativity portion of the prompt. I wrote about not being sorry which was empowering and sustained me for awhile. But to move forward with the A Year with Myselfexercises, I wanted to discuss cultivating my creativity and following through on my ideas.
Here is one example that comes to mind of how I was not sorry for my idea and for sticking it through. The way my husband and I recently celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary came about in a somewhat unusual process. There were many options and we discussed it from time to time over the past year. We talked about going on a trip, taking a romantic holiday, going out to dinner, taking the family out to dinner, hosting a dinner for a larger group at a restaurant, lots of things. We finally made a decision that turned out to be a great idea, one that became a creative gift for me.
My husband suggested that to cut costs we could have a small dinner party at home with our family and a few friends. I think my eyes lit up because I could almost see my excitement reflect on his face. To him a small dinner party is no big deal. Friends, family and food. Fantastic! To me, there is no such thing as small, and “dinner party” has the word party in it, it’s implied. I am having a party! Yay! I love parties!
I starting cooking up some creative ideas right away. I bounced some thoughts around with my most creative cohorts. My best friend, Chef Holly Markman (of http://hollyshomemade.com ) and I talked about what could be served and she agreed to help. My brother-in-law, who dabbles in decorating and is an event coordinator, asked me my all time favorite question. . . (cue the dramatic music!)
“What is your theme?”
(Hee, hee – of course I have already thought about this!!)
“I want either Parisian or Tuscany.” I answered.
He was in. We decided on “A Tuscany Dinner Party.”
The rest of the family offered their support and promised to help clean up and set up so we could have the sit down dinner in our back yard. I immediately started making the guest list, working out a menu, the whole routine. I’ve got this down and I couldn’t be happier! My all time favorite creative outlet is event design. I’ll get an image in my mind of how I want it to look and feel and I don’t stop until I’m there.
This dinner party idea had been a wild horse in my mind for a very long time. I pictured our family and our closest friends all together, sitting outside in our backyard at a beautifully dressed table, under a canopy, aglow in candlelight, eating a delicious meal. It was not what my husband was imagining when he uttered the words, “dinner party.” Perhaps he just said, “dinner at home.” I heard dinner party because that was my heart’s desire. And he was fine with it. My design came to be with a lot of help from our loved ones and it was a wonderful way to celebrate our anniversary! My celebration started the moment I started planning! I may have spent too much time, money and effort on what was supposed to be simple and cost efficient, but. . . I am not sorry!
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!”)
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!
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!