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At the Intersection of ART and LIFE

LIFE:

I often think about aging. More so now that I’m hitting milestones that used to be off in the distance somewhere.

I often have to think about how old I am when someone asks me my age. Despite the passing of the years, in my mind I still feel 27. I’ve asked a number of people if they have a magic age, and all of them said they do.

ART:

I’m reading a book that absorbed me from the beginning. Well-written, intriguing, and of substance. (The Ashford Affair, by Lauren Willig)

I get to page 105, and after reading the following paragraph, I stop, re-read, and am astounded at how coincidence and serendipity still astound me:

“She was constantly forgetting how old she actually was. Her mental age was permanently stuck at twenty-seven… It was like a reverse Rip van Winkle; time had gone by and she had aged without being aware of it.”

Mind. Blown.

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Leap, Do, Be

re-invent-yourself-dailyI’m literally going to take a page out of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic. Here’s a snippet of a Big Magic review that I found intriguing:

One thing Gilbert wants people to keep in mind is this: The stakes are not often as high as we think they are, and it’s okay to dive in head first, not knowing if you’re going to sink or float.

“Magnificent things exist in this world that were made by humans who weren’t ready to do it before they started,” she said. “They weren’t qualified, they didn’t know how to do it. Human history is full of creative people who were 20 percent qualified for that job; they took a leap and some amazing alchemy happened.”

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Imagine in Your Favour and Be Kind to Yourself

owe myself an apology

We learn through repetition. The voice we hear most often is our own, so what we say to ourselves is more important than we may realize.

What if we imagined in our favour, supported ourselves through our self-talk and stopped bullying ourselves? We need to be our own best cheerleader.

As P!NK says in her song “F**kin’ Perfect”:
You’re so mean when you talk/About yourself/You were wrong/Change the voices in your head/Make them like you instead

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Random Tuesday Thought

I recently came across this excerpt from a piece by a member of the Arizona Hopi Nation. I’ve read it before, and found it relevant. Re-reading it, I’m touched again by the simple analogy of the flowing river, the need to let go, and building and tending your own garden based on your truth.

Here’s the passage, as told by an elder:

Where is your water?

Know your garden.

It is time to speak your Truth.

Create your community.

Be good to each other.

And do not look outside yourself for the leader.

Then he clasped his hands together, smiled, and said, “This could be a good time! There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and will suffer greatly. Know the river has its destination. The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water.

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Lean In — for yourself and for all women

Angelou Women

I agree strongly with the leaning in principle. One very relevant and related thing that doesn’t get a lot of airplay, however, is that not enough women in influential positions support other women who decide they are finally going to take a chance and lean in, or those women who need help to lean in. That’s where I think women can make more of an impact in the world — bringing others along and lending support.

It reminds me of Madeleine Albright’s famous quote: “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”

The tipping point may be getting women of influence or women who lead without authority from wherever they are to understand that they won’t lose anything by helping other women, and that they have everything to gain for themselves and in contributing to social equity.

My two cents.

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To Forgive or Not to Forgive?

Hello… it’s me. I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to [read more on my blog].

I’d like to thank Adele for lending me her lyrics to open this post. It’s been literally years since I posted last, and didn’t quite know how to start today.

For any die-hards who are still following my musings, here’s one about forgiveness. It was a biggie for me.

I was thinking about forgiveness the other day. What does it mean? How is it fair? How can we forgive someone, if only to give ourselves peace after being taken advantage of or hurt in some way? How can starting from a place of forgiveness make a difference in our lives?

Here’s the thing… what if you lent money to someone? And s/he didn’t pay you back?

This happened to me a number of years ago. A friend of mine was in dire straits, and as much as I didn’t want to lend her the money (and it was a substantial amount – in the thousands), despite my gut instincts and better judgment, I did it anyway. She paid back a little at a time at first. Then the payments stopped. I asked her about them and she said she’d get back on track soon. Then, nothing. So I asked her again once her financial picture improved. She said I was being selfish, thinking only about myself and the money, and not about her. In the end, I didn’t get about 75% of the money back. Not only did I feel cheated, but I also felt disrespected and hurt.

I stewed about it for some time. I replayed the scenario over and over again. I caused myself undue stress about it. I finally realized this: I couldn’t change it – EVER. Was she worried about it? NO. Was it affecting my thoughts, stress levels, sleep, actions? YES.

So I decided to forgive the loan. Not her – the loan. I didn’t contact her to tell her. I just did it. In my head and heart. For myself. And no, I never spoke with her again.

All of a sudden I felt empowered. She – and her actions and attitude – no longer had any control over me. I was choosing what I would stand for, what I would accept in my life and what I would allow to influence my values, beliefs and actions.

Forgiveness did NOT mean that it was okay that she did what she did or treated me the way she treated me. It meant that I could stop wishing it had been different, that I wasn’t terribly hurt, that I hadn’t been taken advantage of.

Forgiveness simply meant that I could stop spending my good energy, thoughts and feelings on something bad – or, ironically, that I could stop throwing good money after bad.

I’m not saying that losing money to an ungrateful friend is akin to sexual assault, emotional abuse or other traumatic things that happen in our lives. Because I’ve had a few things happen in my own life that were worse than this example I’m giving today. I believe the same principles apply when you take emotion out of the equation.

I’m simply saying that forgiving something that someone did that is still controlling and negatively impacting your thoughts, feelings and actions doesn’t mean you forgive THEM – it means that you can finally write the EXPERIENCE off as a loss for which you’ll never be repaid, and take back control of your life.

You can then, with a more open heart, look to the people that love you, respect you, and support you going forward as you welcome opportunities for an unburdened, empowered, joyful life.

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Soar

Soaring EagleSeth Godin is brilliant. I’m sharing – with Seth’s permission – observations from his latest work, Icarus Deception (free PDF available online):

They told you to get your résumé in order, to punch your ticket, to fit in, and to follow instructions. They told you to swallow your pride, not to follow your dream.

They promised trinkets and prizes and possibly riches if you would just suck it up and be part of the system, if you would merely do what you were told and conform.

They sold you debt and self-storage and reality TV shows. They sold your daughters and sons, too. All in exchange for what would happen later, when it was your turn.

It’s your turn.

This isn’t a manifesto for other people. This is a manifesto for you. It’s a manifesto for anyone who has been overlooked or brainwashed or seduced into being invisible.

A revolution is here, our revolution, and it is shining a light on what we’ve known deep down for a long time—you are capable of making a difference, of being bold, and of changing more than you are willing to admit.

He goes on to very eloquently explain through analogy, using the myth about Icarus, how society has altered the myth by leaving out the second part of Icarus’s father’s instructions. He told him not to fly too close to the sun, AND he told him not to fly too low, too close to the sea, because the water would ruin the lift in his wings.

Seth’s point: We’ve been conditioned to NOT speak up, stand out, or rock the boat.

The danger: We’re flying too low. We’re settling for too little. We’re shortchanging ourselves. And by staying in our comfort zone, we’re shortchanging everyone whose lives we touch or could touch.

The reality: Whose comfort zone is it, anyway? Is it yours, or is it one you’ve adopted?

The strategy: Fly higher. Dry your wings. Soar.

The result: Success. Value. Happiness.

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