No GPS Required

image. expectations vs realityExpectations.  Yikers.  The mere mention of the word has the needle on my perfection-meter bouncing all over the place.

What is an expectation anyway?  An expectation is the idea that we hold ourselves or others to an experience or achievement that we believe will, without a doubt, happen in the future.  And assumptions are as attached to expectations as ice cream is to the hips.  We make the assumption that because of ABC, well . . . DEF surely must follow  . . . and so it will merrily go until XYZ gives us a cute curtsy at the final curtain call and we can all go home.

There is a certain, oftentimes hidden, agenda of chronological events — an order Continue reading

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A Snapshot of I Can’t Remember

celebrating or regrouping

theunseenwordsproject.com

I came across this picture the other day and am trying to remember why the heck I took it.  I didn’t take it with my phone but with my heavy, bulky, big-girl Canon . . . which further tells me that this was a special moment that I wanted to record with my “good camera.”

Weird.  I’m not sure but I think that I was celebrating, having just moved into a fantastic temporary beachfront rental for what turned out to be four exquisite months.  This transition was one of those ideas that had been on my Wish List for years: Live on the beach during the stormy winter months to write.  This recent move Continue reading

What’s in your complaint box?

834px-complaint_department_grenadeWhat’s in your complaint box?  Any chance of turning those complaints around and thinking of them as blessings?

I’ve been doing an experiment.  Every day I write down as many things that I can think of from the day under the heading: Good Things That Happened Today.  It isn’t hard to think of things.  As with anything in life — when you pause to take an inventory — there is much more going on than that which skims the surface.

After I finish my Good Things list, I then write as many things that I can think of under the heading: My Takeaways on Life in the Current Moment.  When I pause to think of My Takeaways, all sorts of good things start to burble forth — things that hitherto felt like an obstacle or a challenge or a frustration.  It’s like magic.  The weird stuff suddenly starts to transform into a better place.

For example, imagine that you are making an offer to purchase what you perceive to be your Dream Home.  And we’re talking Dream Home, people.  You are convinced that this house is It.  It is exactly what you want to buy and to live in for the rest of your life — or at the very least the next decade.  In your Good Things list, you write: I made an offer on my Dream Home today!!!!!

But then life intervenes.  Another offer comes in on the same day as yours, but $10,000 higher than your offer.  And to make matters worse for you, their financing is in perfect order.  Guess whose offer gets accepted?  You feel bummed!  That was your house!  Not theirs!  

The days pass and you search for things to put down on your Good Things list.  You might even write under Takeaways: I learned that it is best to remove such high emotion from a business deal.  Something like this.  But then.  Something really crazy happens.  You read about an opportunity to go to Ireland and serve as an intern at this amazing art school.  It’s your dream!!  You apply.  You get accepted.  Guess what?  You’re going to Ireland for a full year!  Woot!

This adventure gets listed under Good Things.  In addition to recording this adventure to Ireland on your list, you write, I‘m so glad that that house deal fell through!  Thank you!!! on the line directly below your entry about the Ireland opportunity.  You see the correlation so clearly.  In fact — even better yet — you feel the correlation and you experience an understanding that calms your soul and quells your frustrations about the house deal falling through.  All is right with the world and you marvel at how things just work out!

You get the idea.  The seemingly bad breaks that occur in life have all the potential to set us up for something even better.  You just have to be looking.  Be aware.  Be open to seeing the “bad stuff” as “potential good stuff.”  That there are Takeaways, if you only look.  Life events aren’t always easy to dissect into lists, but I find that if I really stretch and embrace both the Good Things and the Takeaways . . . I learn a lot about me and how I can be happy in the flow of the present moment.

How about you?  Do you want to join me in my Good Things/Takeaway challenge?  If you want a PDF to download to get you started, just submit your email address and I’ll send it to you.  It’s fun to turn things around to a place that allows you to embrace that which seemed like such a bummer.

As for me?  Well, I thought that it was going to be smooth and perfect sailing as I prepared to go forth to Ireland . . . but the art internship fell through — something about something occurred, which meant I wasn’t going away to Ireland for a year.

Now, this unwelcome news certainly wasn’t expected, but I am learning as a result of my daily lists.  Instead of listing the loss of my Ireland trip in my Takeaway list, I recorded it immediately in my Good Things list.  After all, I am learning about this life stuff in a new way that is changing my mind and my heart.  I know that something good is happening right now . . . and I am trimming the unexpected starboard list of the boat that I thought was set to sail for Ireland.  It’s a good thing that there were life rafts on that boat!

And I am ready for the next adventure.

Who knows what’s next?  I don’t.  Be it a Good Thing or a Takeaway, I am learning that what works best is for me to be open.  To understand that I don’t have a bird’s-eye view of every little piece that has been set in motion.  To be me and to be happy and to have a light heart.  To stop complaining and to start paying better attention.

Your choice. Choose you.

door. lock. unlock your dreams

theunseenwordsproject.com

Greetings, lovelies.  Today is a great day to Choose You.  

  1. Grab that key.
  2. If you can’t find the key, teach yourself how to pick a lock.
  3. Open the lock and swing the doors wide open.  You might be surprised to discover that you have actually, all this time, been the one who has been locked inside — not the other way around, with all this time thinking that your dreams are the ones that have been locked up and inaccessible.
  4. Step outside into the world of possibility and let your hair flow in the fresh breeze.
  5. Open your arms and embrace the many opportunities that are all around you.
  6. There are so many that are designed especially for you.  For you.  Believe.
  7. Step forth and choose.  You only have to choose one to make a difference in today.  Like choosing a puppy from a darling litter of adorable choices, pick the one that picks you.
  8. Nurture your choice.  Let it know that it is loved.  Feed it, water it, walk it, clean up after it.
  9. Groom your choice.  Brush it, bathe it, pick the sticks and burrs that get stuck when it is out running around and exploring.
  10. An opportunity is a choice.  You are worth the time and care that making the choice to choose you requires to nurture it.  Love who you are.  Believe in yourself.  Choose well.

Life, Love, & Happiness . . . all is a Chancey Poker Hand

deck of cardsI knew an old timer who thought of life as a poker game.  His theory was that we are dealt only so many cards in life . . . that we have to discard the old for the new if we hope to improve the hand that we are currently holding.  He believed that life was all just a gambling game of chance, predicated on our willingness to release something for something else.  In other words: if you don’t like the cards you are holding, you might just as well go ahead and discard.  The new cards that are dealt back to you might make for a better hand.  And if that isn’t the case?  Well, you discard again until you like the hand you are holding.  I should probably add that this older fellow led a very uncomplicated life.

Whether you look at life as Poker, Bridge, Backgammon, or Go Fish . . . there is some truth to what this old guy had to say.  And before I break out in my karaoke version of Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler,”  I just want to say that there is certainly an element of chance in every single moment of my life.  Like a deck of cards sitting before me on the poker table, I can actually feel the opportunities that are stacked up in front of me, beckoning and simply asking me to release my tight grip on my current reality and be brave enough to discard.

Paul_Cézanne,_1892-95,_Les_joueurs_de_carte_(The_Card_Players),_60_x_73_cm,_oil_on_canvas,_Courtauld_Institute_of_Art,_LondonThat’s the best part of taking a chance.  Any chance.  There is that little thrill that courses through our humanness right in that very second before we know that we have been dealt a bad hand or a good hand.  Research has shown that this “thrill” is actually what compulsive gamblers are addicted to.  It isn’t Winning that they are hooked on, otherwise they would walk away from the table when they have a nice high stack of chips sitting in front of them . . . it’s actually that feeling of not knowing whether they have won or lost that brings them back to the table.

I guess I have to give it to Kenny Rogers . . . or to whomever wrote the lyrics to that song about knowing when to hold them or when to fold them.   It is true.  You do have to know when to walk away.  Know when to run.  There is that expression that nature abhors a vacuum.  Experience tells us that this is true: when we create a hole or a gap in our lives, it is likely to fill up with something or someone else — perhaps with alarming similarities, but different nonetheless.

There are those pivotal times in life when we concede to discarding.  And receiving. When we [finally!] acknowledge that it’s okay to take a chance.  And if there are rules that define winning the game, it’s probably time to have a chat with Mr. Hoyle about writing in some exceptions.

All that life really requires of us is that we go forth and live it.  There is not a lot of thinking or haggling involved with it.  Or is there?   [Shifting back into OverThink drive now . . .]  But it sometimes seems that if  you overthink or strategize life, you are doomed to passivity.  Passivity, like counting cards, has its place but it has no depth, no growth, no change, no underbelly.  It just exists with predictable outcomes.

Jokers and trump cards.  The King of Hearts and the Queen of Spades.  Existence and living.  Risk and chance.  I don’t know exactly how this all spells out into my strategy for poker playing — not being very artful at this game — but I am thinking it’s time to look at what I have chosen to hold and maybe do a little discard here or there.  Change is bound to be good because, if we believe Kenny, every hand’s a winner and every hand’s a loser.  [My apologies if this song gets stuck in your head for the rest of the day! :)]

 

 

The Things I Thought I Wanted: The Ballerina Jewelry Box

When I was young, I thought my world would be different — better — if I were in possession of certain items.  If only my parents were rich enough or receptive enough to feel motivated and/or inspired to head to the stores and shop, shop, shop for me.

In that I didn’t come from a family of wealth, I wasn’t a trust fund child, and I wasn’t some yet-to-be-discovered princess who was living as a servant in some rich relative’s attic, I found myself in the unfortunate position of having to work for what I wanted — for the things that went beyond food, shelter, and a good pair of school shoes.  I babysat, polished my dad’s wingtip shoes on Saturday nights, set up woefully-unsuccessful Kool-Aid stands, and swept the dance floors of my dad’s bar on Sunday mornings, hoping that some inebriated souls had carelessly dropped some coins our of their pockets while pulling out their hankies  to mop their polka-dance-sweaty brows.

I sometimes remember some of the highly-coveted items that I dreamed of possessing . . . I look at them now and can still identify the charms that once beckoned to me.

Lenox Childhood Memories Ballerina Jewelry Box

http://amzn.to/2bUH3eD

This ballerina jewelry box was a standard in many girls’ bedrooms while I was growing up.  I remember Kim P. who seemingly had every magical girl thing and gizmo imaginable, so of course she had one.  While the box must have contained her childhood jewelry, she never once opened its lid in my presence to simply listen to the music.

Kim P. was the kind of girl who demanded that her mother redecorate her room at the end of every summer.  She would casually toss some color combinations at her mother, and her mother would then go to work at creating some sort of theme and scheme.  At some point in time, Kim P. must have thought that the pink in the jewelry box was clashing with her psychedelic orange-and-blue color scheme .  I went over there one day after school and the ballerina box was gone.   I remember thinking, Why didn’t she ask me if I wanted it before she threw it away?   But how could she have known?  I had never once asked if I could lift the lid to listen to the music or to see the ballerina spin in place.

I was to never own one of these fancy, girl-y jewelry boxes.  Instead, I used a hand-me-down wooden chest with some vintage-faded image, in muted shades of blue and green, of an Irish cottage and a farmer in the field.  The outside of the box was pressed with a carved design, and to its credit of quality, it did hold the coveted feature of having a mirror inside the lid, but the box’s simple features couldn’t quite compare with pink velvet and a spinning ballerina.

In the ways of moving me and my belongings across the country in a pick-up truck, I had to cut ties with many of my various treasures.  Hence, I lost the jewelry box in some manner of neglect or forgetfulness.  But I did come across one of these plain wooden boxes at an antique store recently, and I bought it immediately.  I didn’t even look at the price, as I knew that it was coming home with me.

My excitement upon finding it in that dusty, cluttery shop revealed to me the strength of a memory . . . how a memory can have greater value than phantom wants from the past.  I now have my jewelry encased in this retro-memory-box, and it is in a prominent place in the center of my rickety-legged, drawer-sticking dresser — another find that reminded me of a bureau that my grandma had.

It makes me happy when I see this ballerina-less wooden box.  I think of my three  big sisters and how they all had triplet boxes like this when they were teenagers.  I can’t remember how I came to inherit mine, but I am quite certain that it was from one of the Big Girls.  It was a sweet gesture, and I am sure that I was happy to receive a treasure box for my odd mix of jewelry bits . . . in spite of my wanting different, more, or better.

We turn our thinking around when we focus on the meaning, the memory, and the value in any given thing, moment, or gesture.  Now?  I think about one of my sisters giving me her jewelry box.  And how special it made me feel to have it.

Childhood memories get refinished in so many ways.  They get re-painted, re-purposed, and their edges get sanded and their scratches smoothed.  And we sometimes  deconstruct and reconstruct a thought based on what we wanted it to be and not what it actually was.  Which is not necessarily a bad thing, I am thinking.  After all, we are in the memory-making business, and I want to focus on the good stuff — the stuff that makes a difference or that inspires me to make a difference in someone else’s life.

Lenox Childhood Memories Ballerina Jewelry Box

http://amzn.to/2bUH3eD

Start with a Simple Idea

IMG_1611. a simple ideaStart with a Simple Idea.  

It’s as simple as that.  Or is it?  We hear stories about people who are fulfilled and successful, motivated and inspired.  What many of these people have in common is that they started their Journey of Success with a simple idea that ultimately sparked growth in their personal lives while contributing to the world around them.

I had some crazy dream about Skylab, America’s first space station, last night — how I was trying to walk on one of its pinwheel arms while maintaining my balance in a gravity-free environment — not an easy task even within the fuzzy confines of a dream.  All of which got me thinking, mid-dream, about what a wonder the whole contraption of Skylab is.  Having experienced its interstellar wonder in my dream, I woke up thinking about how much research and groundwork and hope and intention and vision and forward thinking went into creating it.

Skylab didn’t just happen.  It started with a simple idea and it grew.  Maybe someone scribbled his or her original idea of it on the back of a bar napkin.  Maybe it was the result of some astrophysicists having breakfast together at a conference.  Maybe some scientist woke up with a detailed dream of it.  I don’t know Skylab’s true genesis, but someone had to take it and move it beyond a doodle or an entry in a lab notebook.

In a TED talk (click on the link below), Tony Robbins tells the story of his family receiving an unexpected and generous Thanksgiving Day kindness when he was younger.  As a teenager, Robbins wanted to pay this stranger’s kindness forward, so he anonymously provided a different family with a Thanksgiving dinner.  This generous and simple idea grew into the creation of an organization that now feeds millions of people.

I love stories like this.  Still, as inspiring as they are, they can also feel to be a bit overwhelming.  The obvious questions enter into my thoughts: How did Tony Robbins grow the organization from this one simple gesture?  How did he organize enough people to join him in his vision?  Where did he get the capital to grow the organization into such a large one?  Sure, the amazing and energetic and dynamic Tony Robbins could pull this off  . . . but could I?

Believe-in-yourself-and-believe-in-love.-Love-something.Details, details, details.  I so often get lost in the details.  If I were to look back on my life and pushpin myself onto any given past moment, would I have imagined all of the dynamics of Today?  Parts of Today?  Maybe parts, yes. But all of the amazing-ness that I now experience?  No.  I don’t think I could have foreseen a tiny glimpse of the bigger picture.  I had to take one simple step.  And believe.  And know.  And feed the vision.toaster oven

Skylab was originally launched unmanned but there were eventually several different crews delivered to the station.  On the latter missions, there was even an additional spacecraft orbiting to rescue the crew should they encounter any emergencies.  Imagine these baby steps.  First, unmanned.  Next, manned missions.  Ultimately, backup and support.

Albert-Einstein-Quote-Happy-Life

For a free download (in workbook format) of today’s journal prompt “Start with a Simple Idea,” provide your email address, and I will send you your inspiring journal exercise for you to print out and to start journaling.  Time to make a differrence! 

And to conclude on an uplifting note . . . This is such an inspiring TED talk: Why We Do What We Do.  If you have 21:45 today to take the time to just relax and to open your mind to possibilities, this is a great TED talk.  In fact . . . watch it before you begin journaling.  The ideas that Tony Robbins shares will expand your thinking and your creativity and your perceptions of what is possible.

Be you.

door. lock. unlock your dreams

theunseenwordsproject.com

  • Do you have any dreams that are being held captive behind locked doors?
  • Who put the lock on the doors?
  • Who has the key?
  • What will it take for you to grab the key, unlock the lock, and swing those doors wide open?

We all have been in that place where we feel stuck.  That there seems to be no forward movement in the present moment.  That we feel like we are being held hostage by a series of decisions that have brought us to wherever Here is.

I have definitely found myself in this place.  If I could have only seen that I was the one who was building the walls that were holding me back.  I look back and think What was I thinking?!  How could I have thought that that scenario was okay?  And att the time, I knew that I was the only one holding me back from making a change.

But here I am today, a living testimony to my own little self to how blessings magically can appear when I am willing to muster the courage to do something different.  To try something that is the complete opposite of my M.O.

  • When I was silent, to speak up.
  • When I was afraid, to do something brave.
  • When my intuition was telling me that something wasn’t true, to believe myself.
  • When I was fearful of losing the status quo, to let it all go with a smile on my face and a song in my heart.
  • When I was jealous, to laugh at what I perceived to be threatening.
  • When I was feeling bullied by another’s negativity, to feel the freedom and release by my own positivity.
  • When I doubted myself, to believe in me.
  • When I felt small, to walk tall.
  • When I didn’t feel good enough, to love myself.
  • When I wasn’t sure, to be me.

To be me.  To choose beautiful.  To believe.  To err on the side of happiness.  To not confuse loyalty with stupidity.

Am I beating myself up?  No.  Not in the least.  It is good to have perspective on times that were less than fun.   But today?  Today is a day for speaking up.  For advocating for what it is that makes me happy.  For trusting others with the truth.  With my truth.  For believing in others kindness.

We hear it all the time: “It’s all good.”  But is it?  Maybe it’s not all good all the time. There are times when it is best to walk away from It’s all good and take a deep breath and try something entirely new.  It’s scary, and the unknown doesn’t always feel like a benevolent companion.  But it’s okay to give life a chance.  To give yourself a chance.

Am I going to make more mistakes?  Make more bad decisions?  Probably.  But I am going to keep hold of the key in my pocket and be brave enough to use it when it is time to make a change.  I am going to try to remember to try doing something that is the opposite of what I am feeling or doing or thinking . . . and set off in new directions.

piano-1396971_960_720. be yourself

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The Sunday Share: A Perfect Way to Spend a Sunday Morning

coffee. sunday morning. journal. coffee cup

It’s Sunday morning and what better way to enjoy a Sunday morning than to grab a cup of well-brewed coffee (with some raw sugar and organic half-and-half added to it) and a journal.  I just ordered this new journal (see below) that I simply love.  It is one of those super cool organizers that has dream-planning and monthly goals built into it.

I can easily answer each of the questions below with a resounding YES!
❶ Need to Transform Life With Yearly Goals ?
❷ Want to Set Motivating Monthly Goals ?
❸ Ready To Make Every Day Count ?
Boost Quality of Life by Investing In Your Future Now:

Tools4Wisdom Planner 2016 2017 Calendar July to June – 4-in-1: Daily Weekly Monthly Yearly Goals Organizer (8.5 x 11 / 200 Pages / Spiral / Academic Year)


http://amzn.to/2bffIWS

You can click on the image (or on the hyperlink) to take a look at it.  I love sharing things like this and have already ordered another one (with a different cover) for a friend who is in the midst of re-defining her life by starting a new business.

I sometimes feel like a Goal Nerd because I so enjoy mapping out my many dreams and ideas on paper.  The great part about this book?  It lets me step away from my scribble-y white board in my office and actually organize what it is that presents as the next steps.  I truly appreciate innovative people who create organizers like this.  I have been trying to find one exactly like this for several years . . . and here it is.

I so wish you a happy Sunday and happy planning as well. I sometimes think that planning gets a bad rap from those who think that too much structure creates its own brand of chaos.  While I can agree with the thought behind this opinion, I know that I always feel an added benefit to writing down my creative ideas so that I can see them, rather than just think them.  I am ready to make every day count!

follow your dreams. they know the way. IMG_0704

theunseenwordsproject.com