When Losing & Gaining Are the Same Thing

My journal question of the day from my 5-year journal of 1,825 Answers is: “What do you have to lose?”  This one is a True Stumper. Answers came flying at me from the left and the right.  From above and below.  And a few shot their arrows of truth straight through my soul.  I thought of the physical and the cosmic, the overtones and undertones of this question.  The tangible and the intangible. Terra Firma and Universe.  Worldly and spiritual.  Scary and serene. Serious and funny. Physical and emotional.

What I first wrote for an answer was intuitive: “Absolutely nothing.”  But then, I don’t know, something nudged me again from the inside so I added: “Absolutely everything.”  Then my rational brain wrote: “I really don’t know how to answer this.”  Then my spiritual self wrote: “The concept of loss encompasses a great deal of life’s essence and interpretation.”

I sharpen my pencil and go back to the original question on the page and cross out everything I have written and write in response to “What do you have to lose?”: Optimism & belief & my ability to love.

And I realize that I am writing myself into circles that are far too confining and . . . truth: I need not be so confined by someone else’s question.  I simply rewrite the question and cross out the word lose and write in the word gain, re-phrasing it to read: “What do I have to gain?”  By re-writing the question, I am inspired to re-write embedded self-perceptions of lack and to safeguard any existing self-perceptions of wealth — true, real-life, inside wealth.

And then I think: Wait a second.  Losing and gaining might actually be the very same thing . . . for when I re-phrase the question as “What do I have to gain?” my answers are the very same as for what I have to lose: Optimism & belief & my ability to love.

IMG_2800Nothing like a little convoluted writing to unsquiggle a simple question.  My takeaway from today’s question: Gaining is the same as Losing.  Perspective sometimes wins out over reality.  It’s time for me to think on Abundance Theory and keep focused on the sunny side.  Eventually time gets us to where we want to be heading . . . which potentially leads to the next question: Where am I going anyway?  A question to be answered on another day . . .

So . . . your journal question for today: What do you have to gain?  

If you feel comfortable sharing your answers, please, do so in the comments below.  We all grow from others’ diverse experiences and perspectives.  What do you have to gain?

Life is a remarkably lively and engaging event.  

Go forth, answer squiggly questions, and appreciate what you do have in life.  

What’s stopping you? 





Embrace Your Inner Honey Badger & Make Some Mud Balls

Escape your present reality and think like a honey badger.  Every time I watch this BBC documentary clip of the honey badger, I am so inspired by this animal’s persistence.  The honey badger’s focus on escaping the enclosure is nothing short of amazing.  It uses any and every resource it has to get to where it wants to go.  This animal truly is a marvel.  And what a lesson to all of us who doubt or fear or give up or don’t believe that something is possible.  The message straight from the honey badger itself: It is possible.  Just watch the video (4:12) and you will see what I am saying.  It is a hoot!

When I watch this video, I think about my life and about where I want to go.  Where I know I want to be. What I want to accomplish.  I am reminded of that quote by Lewis Carroll, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”  Well, the thing is: I do know . . . and I am expending personal resource: time, energy, creativity, etc.

But still . . . am I using every resource that is available to me?

This honey badger’s tenacity shows me that the answer to my question is Absolutely not.  The thing is: I know that I am capable of so much more.  Perhaps this is what drives the pistons of life’s dissatisfaction or confusion or self-defeat within my inner world.  I know that I have so much more inside of me to create, to offer, to be.  In the video, the honey badger even makes mud balls (!) to stage its escape.  Mud balls . . . an escape prop out of dirt and water.  Maybe I am easily moved, entertained, and inspired, but I find this very inspiring.  This honey badger never ceases to execute the next escape plan with what diminishing resources are available.  It uses ingenuity to make its goal happen, no matter what “tools” are available.

The word escape has so many different connotations.  It can mean that I am escaping from something that isn’t pleasant or that is demoralizing.  Or it can mean that I am experiencing a moment of escape, like the feeling of reveling in the sunshine on that Maui beach . . . but still with life’s root-of-reality reminding me of that which I will be returning to once vacation is over . . . something that isn’t bad but that isn’t all that great either.

Watch the video below (4:12), be inspired, and then click on the aqua-blue link to a fun and inspiring journaling prompt below.  Have fun with the prompt.  It could very well have the power to create a ripple effect into how you choose to live your life.  I wish you the very best of energy with your respective dreams and goals.

pencil stubClick on the aqua-blue link below for today’s journaling prompt: Your Great Escape Plan

Your Great Escape Plan

[Print this prompt out, 3-hole punch it, and add it to your journaling binder.   Take the writing journey and listen . . . you can’t get lost when you are following your own heart.  After all, you are the only one who can hear what it has to say.  The only one.  Relax, read, think, feel, listen, write.  Repeat.  And enjoy the journey.  It is a fine one, and one that is perfectly-made just for you, I promise.  Life is meant to be grown.]



Creativity: Is it overrated?

IMG_3218I was flipping through the pages of my 5-year journal . . . and of the 1,825 answers that it could contain, I have filled in 53 answers.  As I was reading and reflecting on what I had written, I came across this question:

What’s the most creative thing you’ve done recently?

My answer struck me as honest, amusing-to-me, and a little comforting:

This is scary.  I can’t think of something!  Help!  Hmmm . . . I glued pictures of some birds in my journal.  I made a beautiful, foamy latte.  I made veggie-lentil marinara.

Reading this, I am struck by a note of  (1) desperation — fearing that the Creativity Police was going to swing by and give me an F+ in Creativity if I didn’t think of something Artsy and (2) a deeply-forgiving spirit — realizing that I didn’t feel like I had to report anything stellar like painting a gallery-worthy canvas or mastering the tricky 16th-note measures of my old friend “Allegro” on the violin.  I now know that on May 19, 2013, veggie-lentil marinara felt like a creative endeavor.  This is why I love journaling so much.  It reminds us of who we are.

Gluing pictures of birds in my journal is not how I externally define creativity.  I expect from myself a more legacy-laden result when I say the word creativity.   Still, there is much to be said for celebrating the day to day.  We can’t all be fabulously creative every single moment . . . or can we?

So . . . What would be my answer to this question today?  Hmm . . . let’s see . . .

IMG_3317Two weeks ago, when my two best girl friends came to visit, we got out a stack of small canvases and we painted.  We didn’t watch a movie.  We didn’t go out for dinner.  Rather we snacked on a jumbo bag of chips and salsa, sipped wine, and painted for hours.  It was fun, rewarding, stimulating, and enlightening.  I made an enormous mess and, being the kind of friends that they are, they helped me to clean up my spatters that had followed an unanticipated trajectory across the room.

There was also an element of repeat 2013 Creativity in this day, proving to me that some things are still a priority and indicative of my preferences: I made us beautiful, foamy lattes, we went bird watching (Have you ever seen a Stellar’s jay “ant”?) and, for dinner, we ate some crazy concoction made from leftovers from the fridge that involved lentils.  Lentils, oh lentils . . . how you are a constant in my life! lol!

IMG_3318Creativity.  It isn’t what you make that makes you a Creative.  It’s the feeling you create while you are creating.  Be it something as simple as cutting and pasting images of birds or something as rewarding as nailing those last few measures of “Allegro” — it is all a symbol of how I choose to feel while I experience and savor time.  So simple really when I remove all self-imposed external expectations.

It is so easy to look at others and remark on their gifts and talents.  We think because we aren’t mastering Sample A, our own Sample B somehow doesn’t quite measure up.  But measure up to what?  If we aren’t running marathons, our 2-mile walk doesn’t seem very significant.  If we aren’t hanging our work on a public wall, it doesn’t seem like it is very good.  If we aren’t performing at Benaroya Hall, then our music doesn’t measure up (pun intended).  I don’t know.  Maybe it’s all about perception, self-perception and otherwise. Forgiveness, self-forgiveness and otherwise.  And dissatisfaction, self-dissatisfaction and otherwise — knowing deep inside that we aren’t listening to our Higher Self’s prompting to become who we really are.

Click on the aqua-blue hyperlink below for today’s journal prompt.  It is a fun question that may inspire some surprising and reassuring answers for you in how you view your creative self.

Click on the aqua-blue link below:

Creativity. Is It Overrated. journaling prompt

Life is a lively event.  Live it like you mean it.  What’s stopping you?

[Print this prompt out, 3-hole punch it, and start your journaling binder.   Take the writing journey and listen . . . you can’t get lost when you are following your own heart.  After all, you are the only one who can hear what it has to say.  The only one.  Relax, read, think, feel, listen, write.  Repeat.  And enjoy the journey.  It is a fine one, and one that is perfectly-made just for you, I promise.]

Yes, you can go home again . . . if only in your dreams.

ardoch II

My Hometown

Last night, I had vivid dreams of my childhood home in the Red River Valley of North Dakota.  The place where I learned to swim in post-thunderstorm mud puddles, to build elaborate snow and ice tunnels, to discover the magic of reading, to try to walk to the end of a rainbow, to revere and emulate Mae West, to respect the wisdom of my older siblings, and to understand that life sometimes deals out unfairness without warning.

These dreams of last night involved highlights of childhood that were happy, peaceful, and creative.  They were moments that contained laughter, bliss, and sibling camaraderie.  It was a rare gift of benevolent recall via slideshow with me starring as my own little-girl self.  The dreams allowed me to visit with my father, who recently passed over in December, and he took me by the hand and led me on a tour of highlights that reminded me that my early life, indeed, offered shouts of joy that have somehow become strangely muffled in the memories of my adulthood.

Life is what I make of it.  And so is fun and my sense of playfulness.  This past weekend, while writing out my to-do lists on my wall-mounted white board, I caught myself wondering,  This is nothing but work and chores and items of destined procrastination . . . What happened to simply having fun?  I wrote “HAVE FUN!” at the bottom of the lists for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday going forward.

Still, I started to wonder: What has happened (!?) to me and my life such that I am having to start prioritizing fun?   What happened to getting out there and having some good ol’, mud-puddle-stomping, spontaneous fun?  

In an effort to re-gain spontaneous Fun in My Life (back to that concept of planning and prioritizing again!), I am going to try an experiment.  As I seem to need the reminder, I am going to write on my list of to-dos everyday for one month:

Have some fun . . . 

And cross it off my list.  And just see what happens.  And enjoy life.  I want to move out of my current state of Get-‘er-Done to a renewed paradigm of Have-Some-Fun.

Anyone out there want to join me?  And keep me posted on what you do?  For me, it’s time to re-claim that girl who liked to sit on the front porch rail of our house, swinging my legs, and belting out Mae West quotes and tunes (C’mon up and see me sometime!) to any passerby who traveled through our tiny town.  It’s time to start having some Fun!

Mae West: You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.


Main Street, Hometown

Your Personality . . . & the Glory of the Choice

Vision Board 058Your personality . . . what is it exactly?  Aside from the usual adjectives of fun or moody or sunny or temperamental or intense or Type A or laid back or . . . what exactly? What does it really mean to be assigned a personality type?

We’ve all pondered the big debate of Nature vs. Nurture . . . how the spark of life is blessed/cursed/or combination-therein by congenital behavior . . . or wait!  Is it actually shaped by environmental and emotional factors?  And then these is all of the vice-versa stuff that leads one to accept and embrace both and then not think much about it.

Fascinating research points to many interesting findings that help us to understand Who We Really Are, our emotional and social intelligence, and our perception of positive and negative influences.  Nature or Nurture?  It is an enormous question that no one can really answer with total authority.  Take the story of the two children — identical twins, actually — standing on the ocean shore.  They are enjoying themselves while the salt water is gently lapping at their toes.  Suddenly, a rogue wave washes over the top of them.  The same wave, the same temperature of water, the same element of surprise.  One of the twins starts to cry and scream and run from the water. The other twin splashes back at the wave while laughing.   While this story would neither withstand nor support the rigors of a research study focused on Nature vs. Nurture, I like it nonetheless.  It gives me pause: Why not laugh?  It’s a heck of a lot more fun than crying and screaming.

And in the midst of all of this wondering and debating and agreeing, I do believe that there is much to be said for the concept of timshelthe Hebrew word for thou mayest.

When I think on topics of this sort, my mind wanders back to a Time of Great Impressionability in my life, and I was reading John Steinbeck’s East of Eden.  What a book!  Well, “the story bit deeply into me,” and Lee’s treatise on timshel has stayed with me all of these curious years later — a testimony to the notion that life is one great impressionable moment after another.

It is my hope that sharing this gem of Steinbeck’s brilliance and wisdom will not act as any sort of spoiler.  The book is brilliant and one worth reading.  Like life, Steinbeck’s writing is intense and provocative and profound.  He writes the sort of story that stays with you throughout the years.  I thank Mr. Steinbeck for opening my eyes, my mind, my heart, my soul, and my sense of wonder to the notion of thou mayest“the glory of the choice.”

Last week, I came across this quite lovely Personality Test online.  I normally don’t click on these tests, expecting some sort of hook to be set before you receive your “results,” but something prompted me to go ahead and try this one.  Before reading any further, go ahead and click on the link and visualize your responses to the prompts.


All done?

What do you think?  How much of the explanation of your visuals did you feel was accurate?  At the very least, I felt that I was given a sideways glimpse into me — parts of me that are actually true that I generally don’t consciously associate with my “personality.”  I think about Steinbeck’s artistic weaving of timshel into East of Eden . . . and I am reminded that thou mayest carries with it a personal(-ity) responsibility of creative and paradigm-shifting mindfulness that requires daily cultivation, acknowledgement, and celebration on my part.

Personality assessment aside . . . overall, we need not be so hard on ourselves.  I think we sometimes embrace the opinions of  people — people who truly don’t know us — with far too much zeal, and we assign too much authority to the editorializing that is done by others.  We have a proclivity toward jumping into the sinkhole: a morass of self-blame, regret, and guilt that we assign to nature- and nurture-defining personality quirks . . . epic actions that play with our hearts and attempt to define how we choose to forge present moments into future goals and dreams.  Or . . . is this just my personality?

I used to have a quote taped up in every room of my house: Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen.  In the midst of one particularly Challenging Time, I was re-reading the quote, and I realized that I needed to make an edit.  I crossed out about to happen and scribbled in happening right now:

Always believe that something wonderful is happening right now.  

The current paradigm of Overwhelm in that moment screeched to a halt, and life felt like it took a gentler curve toward heart-healing and happiness.  When I realized that I had a choice to become someone new on the inside, my whole life shifted.  This epiphany didn’t segue into some neat and tidy story-book ending, but it did nudge me into a new place, such that I could get back into a timshel state of mind: “the glory of the choice.”

toaster ovenI leave you today with the prayer, the wish, the hope, and the thought that today is a good day for you.  A truly good day.  One of gratitude and filled with micro moments that tell you that Now is Now and life is evolving, constantly evolving, as something that is wonderful.  If this moment isn’t all that great, just wait for the next one.  It will be here before you know it — full of promise and full of timshel.  With some refining, life really can be borne from “the glory of the choice:  . . . keeping “the way open.”

Click on the highlighted link below to download today’s free journaling exercise.  Have fun journaling and putting a new spin on perceptions and keeping your way open!

The Glory of the Choice. A Different Spin. journaling prompt


A reminder that gifts of beauty await when we keep our hearts open.  So lovely.


[P.S. Here is the real Spoiler Alert: To read a longer excerpt that discusses timshel in greater detail from East of Eden, click here.  If you are planning to read the book . . . do not click here.]

Fearless or Irresponsible? Living In the Overlap.

For whatever reason, I was thinking today about a time in my life when I was acting quite irresponsibly.  At least that is how it must have appeared from an outsider’s perspective.  To me, and with a goodly measure of hindsight, what felt to be intrepid was probably pretty rash.  And maybe even a little naive and dumb.

I was also thinking today about times in my life when I was acting quite fearlessly and how life was just one long ride of incredible excitement.  Every day was new and different and challenges abounded as a result of this fearlessness.  I was riding a big wave and somehow managing to stay on the board.  I look back and think, Huh.  How did that even work?  

Fearless?  Irresponsible?  Is there even a line between the two?  Maybe life is one big Venn diagram . . . a symbol of where we place our confidence in life, in love, in ourselves.  I don’t know.  In that we are never completely aware of the full consequences of our actions, it is unclear as to how willy-nilly my behavior truly was.  And continues to be.  Still, it seems to be true that all kinds of crazy and dumb can lead to positive outcomes.  It sometimes comes down to the question of What we are willing to do for the pursuit of love and happiness?  What kind of risk are we willing to take?

Click on the link below and print out this journaling exercise.  Do some free associating with the diagram.  I’m not suggesting any empirical outcome.  I am simply asking you to consider that what you might carry as a regret might not have been as dumb and irresponsible as you think it was or is.

Life happens.  Consider the alternative.  I’d rather be living in the Overlap or even the Outer Fringes . . . knowing that I am willing to take the risk to try.  Just try.

Fearless or Irresponsible. Living in the Overlap.

[Three-hole punch this exercise and put it in your special journaling binder.  It is so rewarding to look back over writing that is honest and that encourages you to grow.  My journaling friends all say that they are glad they have saved their writing in one binder or notebook.  They also say that they are happy that they dated their writing and recorded their location.  You might be in the park, at your desk, or on a ferry.  You might be on an exotic vacattoaster ovenion or you might be waiting for your laundry to finish drying at the laundromat.  No matter where you are when you are recording your thoughts and feelings, when re-reading your entries at a later date . . . your spatial memory will trigger the Feelings of Epiphany you felt when you were discovering your Voice and your Truth.  Happy writing!]


The Mindfulness of Hotcakes and Trapdoors


I made hotcakes this morning.  I mixed up a batch of my special hotcake mix last night using the ingredients that I had on hand. There were a few essential things I was missing, but I feel that I more than made up for these by adding almond meal and toasted coconut.  These hotcakes would never be on an IHOP commercial or in a photograph on the menu. They always pour into odd elliptical shapes — unbecoming to any self-respecting advertised hotcake.  Depending on how well I have managed to pre-heat the skillet, they turn out perfectly golden or unappetizingly pasty-white or sometimes simply compost-worthy.  Today was a good day, and they came out pretty close to just right.  Goldilocks would have had no complaint.

While I was cooking them, it struck me that making hotcakes requires a great deal of mindfulness.  You can’t heat the griddle too quickly.  You need to whisk the batter just so, leaving the correct proportion of lumps.  You have to test the griddle with droplets of water and listen for the sizzle before you pour the first hotcake.

Then comes the waiting.  First, there is a test of patience that rewards you with hotcakes that are just the right color and just the right doneness before you flip them.  Then you wait some more.  It is always tempting to walk away from the stove after you have flipped them.  There are bowls to rinse, syrup to heat, butter to be put on a plate.  More coffee to be made.  Compost to be taken out.

When I do not maintain the necessary mindfulness, the bottom gets too dry or too dark or too crunchy.  These pancakes go to compost pile or to the dogs — who absolutely looooove burnt hotcakes.  I know that it is best to wait.

This morning I waited and was rewarded with the loveliest of hotcakes.  I thought of that maxim “Good things come to those who wait,” and I thought, Yes, this is so true.  About the time I am ready to despair of ever realizing my loftiest of dreams . . . or the time when I feel I am just about ready to touch one of my goals, and it simply dissipates before me . . . or the time when I feel as if all is linking up just so and then something comes along and blows the line up . . . I must remember to think Patience . . . think Hotcakes.

Life always has its twists, turns, spirals, and trap doors.  I would rather keep my eye on the prize and fall into a trap than be warily looking down at the path before me, wondering where the next booby trap is and hoping that I will somehow miraculously avoid it.

I was reading about trapdoor snails and came across this excerpt on why to keep these snails in your pond [http://aqualandpetsplus.com/]:  “All the pond books recommend these belly foots (gastropods) for ponds.   Theoretically, trapdoors make excellent algae eaters.  However, we’ve never been able to measure their effectiveness — even when kept in mass quantities.” 

So, basically, we know that these belly foots work for the reasons we want them to in the pond, but we just can’t measure their effectiveness.  The correlation of gastropods to hotcakes and mindfulness might seem to be a bit of a stretch, but it clicked for me internally.  Perhaps it is the usefulness of maintaining a dream, even when I can’t measure its effectiveness in the present moment.  In other words, keep the dreams in the pond — in mass quantities — and hope for the best end results.  Give up on measuring and simply believe that all is working as it should be.

One more thought: “Trapdoor snails (like most snails) slam their trapdoors when picked up or pestered.”  And some more food for thought regarding dreams, goals, hopes, and opportunities . . . all excellent reminders when keeping goals at the forefront:

  1. When pestered, slam the door.
  2. When obstacles block your path, scoot away as quickly as your belly foot can take you.
  3. Protect the essence of your shell and always maintain mindfulness.
  4. Keep forward progress in motion, even if it feels to be a snail’s pace.
  5. Don’t look back.  Throw away the rearview mirror.
  6. Keep flippin’ hotcakes, don’t mind the burnt ones, and shoot for the moon.

The Choice to Choose

IMG_0719I found this quote by Marianne Williamson as I was clicking through folders on my external hard drive.  I tried to remember the circumstances under which I felt compelled to take the time to copy this quote and save it under the folder entitled “Choices,” but the date stamp of over 2 years ago on the document was not enough of a clue.  What was I doing, feeling, or thinking two years ago?  Was I at some intersection of hope and denial . . . and a’waiting some guidance to come traveling my way?

“The choice to follow love through to its completion is the choice to seek completion within ourselves. The point at which we shut down on others is the point at which we shut down on life. We heal as we heal others, and we heal others by extending our perceptions past their weaknesses. Until we have seen someone’s darkness, we don’t really know who that person is. Until we have forgiven someone’s darkness, we don’t really know what love is. Forgiving others is the only way to forgive ourselves, and forgiveness is our greatest need.”  – Marianne Williamson

This is a great quote.  Marianne Williamson is an inspiring and excellent writer.  Whenever I read her writing, I feel inspired to stretch a little further and search a little deeper.  It is good to read words that encourage me to grow in exponential directions.  I find that I can only read so much of Williamson’s writing before it is time to set the book aside for some absorption time. It makes for a slow read this way, but I always feel enriched and guided by the thoughts that are inspired by her words.

I do not create very much time to read in my daily life and, as a result of this non-priority, I have been carrying the same book by Marianne Williamson on various vacations for over 5 years.  The book has a lot of notes scribbled in the margins and the pages are curled along the edges.  There is beach sand embedded where the pages meet the binding.  If you hold the book open and fan the pages, the reminder of Hawaii will sift onto the table.  The cover is faded from sunlight, and the pages have been dog-eared and un-dog-eared.  I am about 1/3 of my way through the book.  It looks like this book is going to see a lot more travel by the time it is retired on the bookshelf.  It is too worn and weary of a passenger to be passed on to a different reader.

Besides, trying to decipher someone else’s notes in the page margins always breaks the flow for the new reader.  It leaves one wondering why the passage on this page is so significant that someone took the time to pen a remark.  The new reader feels that he or she perhaps missed some essential point that the previous reader clearly pounced on and duly noted.  I find that it is better to start with a fresh book than to try to analyze another reader’s scribbles and observations.  Maybe I am odd that way, but I like to create my own flow.

I thought I lost the book on one of my trips to Hawaii, so I bought a new copy that was all clean and smooth.  Then the old copy re-surfaced in a carry-on bag while packing for a trip, so I switched the newer version for the original version.  Back to Square One in the home-i-est of fashions.

So, I was reading from my well-traveled book the other day — now that I am traveling for a few months — and thinking about how life has moved me into a blessed place in time: an imaginative and real culmination of a dream I have nurtured for well over 10 years.  It feels as if I am in a magical bubble that is allowing for me to pursue interests and dreams and disciplines that have felt to be so distant from my daily reality.  I am exercising everyday again.  I have all of my instruments out of their cases and at-the-ready to be played.  I l-o-v-e this.  I have my laptop set up in an inspiring spot in the new house I am renting for the winter — with a view to the west and to the north.  I am cooking from recipes — not simply broiling a quesadilla or throwing compatible food ingredients into a pot and calling it good.  I baked chocolate chip cookies yesterday.  For those of you who regularly bake, this may not seem like such an extraordinary thing.  But for me?  It has been many years since I have done anything even remotely this wonderfully culinary.  The cookies came out too dark, flat, and lacy at the edges . . . not my preferred genre of cookie. Still.  I made cookies and the house smells great.

I feel that I am in this gracious bubble of choosing to make conscious choices.

IMG_0739Still, being in this extraordinary moment is the culmination of many challenging times and sometimes-awkward choices.  I have stated my preferences and not stated my preferences.  I have turned left when it might have been more advantageous to have turned right.  I have laughed when it was inappropriate and I have cried when the tears weren’t worth the effort.  Everything has all somehow flowed into one channel that has led me to a time of feeling peaceful and fulfilled. With life’s chaos reigning these past years, I have the awareness to appreciate the bubble while it is floating.  And it feels great.

I sometimes feel as if we are afraid to celebrate too loudly . . . these delightful and surprising moments of awesome-icity that just make for incredibly-saturated present moments and delicious memories.  If I celebrate too loudly, will moments like this ever return to me?  Haven’t I been trained to hide my ecstatic joy under a bushel basket, lest it be conceived as a negative sort of expression that speaks too loudly?  I don’t know.  Maybe I was raised in a more stringent time or culture — one in which we are taught to not proclaim feelings of joy too loudly.  It might make someone else feel badly.  Or it might be perceived as bragging or trouncing someone else who is struggling.  Or it might be simply bad manners.

Is it?  I hope not.  That would never be my intent.  Never.  I am just simply feeling the atmospheric joy of the bubble. toaster oven

What’s next?  I wrote in my journal yesterday.  I thought of several things and wrote them down in my signature columns and charts and boxes that organize my thoughts.  Then I realized that what has essentially led to Now has been honoring my intentions, my dreams, and my goals.  The lines from all of those columns and lists and analyses have been blurred into Now.

Events, blessings, and surprising circumstances are possible.  The bubble is real.  Dreams may not line up in my presupposed perfect chronological order, but I received the encouraging confirmation this winter that if I keep the dream safe to my heart and extend it to the greatness of the Universe, it will all come ’round right.

I tell myself everyday, “Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen.”  Some days I don’t believe in this as ardently as other days.  But today?  Today has been an extraordinarily good day.  I walked in the forest and on the beach.  I didn’t see another soul the entire time I was out.  I wrote.  I played my mandolin and kept my own time without a metronome.  I finished baking the second half of the chocolate chip cookie batter, hoping that by refrigerating the dough overnight the cookies might look better coming out of the oven.  They didn’t.  They are even more burnt looking and lacier-edged, and flatter.  They are stored in the freezer for some hapless house guest who will be offered a frozen, home-baked cookie.

Life is good.  I l-o-v-e this song!  Kool and the Gang are awesome!

Celebrate good times, come on!




What are you waiting for?

time-travel-clockWaiting . . . why do we call it waiting when we are always doing something else while we are doing what we call waiting? We wait at the bus stop.  At the doctor’s office.  In the conference room for a meeting to begin.  At the lacrosse field for practice to be over.  At home for dinner preparations to be completed.  At a restaurant for a predictably-late friend to show.

red child shoesWe wait for our friends, our spouses, our partners, our parents, our family.  We wait for children to tie their shoes or to pick up their toys.  We wait for our spouses to finish getting ready so we can get going.  We wait for our friends to all arrive so we can go into the theatre and find seats.

We wait while anticipating what we consider to be predictable outcomes.  The truck to get lubed.  The light to turn green.  The ferry to arrive.  Our grades to be posted at the end of the quarter.  We wait for serious things like test results. We wait for unstable relationships to resolve by themselves.  While in this labyrinth, we wait while we stay and we wait for the other person to go away.

We wait for technology to deliver. We wait for texts, emails, and attachments.  While we wait, we bury our thoughts in our phones and our computers and our iPads.  All in the name of waiting.

Sometimes we are patient; sometimes we are impatient.  Sometimes we are intense; sometimes we are dreamy.

We wait in traffic and in line, while seated and while standing. While we wait, we laugh and we cry and and we grump and we think that we are thinking about nothing.  While we wait, we make grocery lists and we think about how we should clean the bathroom before our guests arrive for dinner that night.  We go for a quick run or we shoot a few hoops.  We tidy our desks or we empty the dishwasher.  We walk the dog while waiting for the car pool to arrive.  We feed the cat while we are waiting for the last few minutes of the spin cycle to be done so we can transfer clean clothes into the dryer.

All of this productivity while we are waiting.   There is a whole lot of energy that goes into waiting.  Waiting is doing.  And being.  And thinking.  And feeling.  And living.

140Do you ever feel as if you are waiting for your life to start?  For it to begin in the way that you once saw it unfolding in your imagination?  Did you see yourself living on Maui or did you think that you would have published at least two New York Times Bestsellers by now?  Did you think that you would have lost all of that extra weight or that you would have been in good enough shape to climb Annapurna?   Did you see yourself having returned to school and then walking across that stage for your diploma?  Did you see yourself being an awesome studio musician or a brilliant politician or an inspirational speaker or . . . ?

121I am aware that life is a swirl of matter and motion and that I am in my life’s vortex.  I very much appreciate the amazing blessings that abound and that allow for me to be living my dream.  My dreams.  If waiting is living, then there is no time left to be thinking about waiting.  It is officially time to set aside the sometimes overpowering notion of waiting and just start being alive.  Am I waiting?  If so, for what?  Time is ticking and there truly is no time like the present to kick up my heels and yell Hallelujah.  No more waiting.

vintage movie cameraThere are several songs that come to mind . . . lyrics that talk about how life is not a rehearsal.  It is an impromptu performance and you are the star.  Yes, you.  As introverted or private a person you may be, you are the principal actor in this play called Life.  There are no second takes, no director calling, “Cut!” or “Action!” or “Roll ‘em!” or “Fade to black.”   It is all a brand new Right Now.  Why wait?  Let the camera roll.

The next time I find myself waiting for anything, I hope that I am reminded of these thoughts and that I will re-direct my Waiting Thoughts into Creating Good Stuff . . . and continue to always believe that something wonderful is about to happen . . . while I am Waiting. toaster oven

believe that something wonderful

Today? Let’s do the twist . . . then write . . . then . . .

Come on, Baby!  Let’s do the twist!

Today is January 2nd, and I am thinking about the List of Intentions for 2015 that I scribbled in my journal.  Being a process-oriented innovative type and not the get-‘er-done-and-check-‘er-off-the-list implementer type, there is nothing on my list with any defined or measurable outcomes.  In the past, I have tried to quantify resolutions into SMART-goal format — unsuccessfully so — as I gravitate toward quality experiences that are momentary and poof they are gone.

As I result, I do not make any New Year Resolutions.  I don’t say that I am going to kick butt at the gym and run for 10K 6 days a week, or that I am going to write 2000 words daily in one of my ongoing short stories.  I do say that I am heading to the gym or that I am going to write when the afternoon quiets down.  Perhaps if I were to quantify or to schedule such things, life would feel more accomplished.  Would I feel more successful?  I don’t know. I read once that it is better to schedule one’s priorities, rather than prioritize one’s schedule.  It is something to experiment with: schedule my priorities.

On my list for 2015, I wrote things down such as: Smile more.  Laugh at absurd moments that enter my life.  Meditate.  Exercise my mind and my body.  Play “Allegro” on violin and/or mandolin and do not slow down to lento in the more difficult passages.  Dance more.

I used to go dancing every weekend.  Friday or Saturday or Sunday night. . . or all three nights.  It was an important part of my physical, mental, and social life.  It still is important to me . . . I just don’t go to the bars anymore to get my dance groove going.

I woke up this morning with Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” running through the latter stages of my dream.   Then I found this awesome video, and it really made me smile.  And laugh out loud.  I felt so good that I felt prompted to tune my violin.  It was cantankerous due to having been moved into a new climate, but it is happily singing now.  I then spent some time meditating to further enjoy the morning.  Meditating always feels good.   When I completed my meditation, I found myself humming “The Twist.”  Then I replayed the video again.  Turned up the volume on my laptop and twisted with the awesome dancers on this video.  This definitely put me in a very happy place.  Back to one of my intentions: laugh at absurd moments.

What does this mean to me?  The power of writing.  The connection of writing to realizing my goals and my dreams.  After scrawling my “resolutions,” I was not consciously aware that I was following my morning’s “to-be-experienced” list.  When I wrote these things, I was thinking of a fuzzy concept to be wafted into my future 2015 — things that I enjoy doing or experiencing.

What I learned from this?  In the morning, make a short list of intentions that I would like to experience today.  Nothing definite or solid . . . just things that would be fun or fanciful or maybe even practical to see or to do or to be.  Then see what happens.  Write down wacky or unlikely things along with the more specific things with measurable outcomes like going to the gym or taking 10 photographs to document today’s awesomeness.

So, I guess this does create a resolution for me this year.  Be open.  Write things down in a dedicated notebook.  Look back at what I have written at the end of the year.  Start checking things off.  [This is beginning to feel like SMART goals!]  Be happy and celebrate the things in life that give me joy and that provide laughter.