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

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Be brave when it comes to thorns.

rose-vintage-painting

theunseenwordsproject.com

Groucho Marx said it well: “Don’t let the fear of the thorn keep you from the rose.”  We’ve all experienced moments in life when we have been pricked by thorns in our quest for life’s beauty and goodness.  When we have taken risks and been hurt as a result of our bravery.

There are always going to be those times Continue reading

Making Change

IMG_0703

Making change.  Eleanor Roosevelt wrote in You Learn by Living: “Do the things that interest you and do them with all your heart.  Don’t be concerned about whether people are watching you or criticizing you. The chances are that they aren’t paying any attention to you.  It’s your attention to yourself that is so stultifying.  But you have to disregard yourself as completely as possible.  If you fail the first time then you’ll just have to try harder the second time.  After all, there’s no real reason why you should fail.  Just stop thinking about yourself.”  In other words, Just Do It.

A few things that keep me focused while flowing with change:

  1. As Eleanor says: Just stop thinking about yourself.
  2. Let your history of reward and success encourage you. Remember a time when you tried something new or different or risky . . . and it really felt great while in the process or it, ultimately, led to a really fun outcome.
  3. Surround yourself with quotes that inspire you to be bold.  Words are powerful.
  4. Tape up index cards with the definitions of words like courage, brave, risk, happiness, wealth.  It is always good to see such large, sometimes seemingly unattainable, words defined into smaller, simpler parts.
  5. Write about the journey.  It secures what you are experiencing to your heart and emboldens you.
  6. Be happy. Tell your family and friends how happy you are while you are flowing with change.
  7. Don’t think outside the box. There is no box.  Let yourself slip into flow mode.
  8. Seek the company of generous people who are happy that you are happy. Stay away from naysayers who don’t share your happiness or who feel threatened by your vision.
  9. When in doubt and you feel you are at a crossroads, flip a coin. By the time the coin lands you will know what you want.  This works.  If you still feel uncertain after seeing that head or tail or if you find yourself flipping the coin again for 2 out of 3, you will know what your preference is.  Go with it and trust yourself.
  10. Extend love to others. It is always returned and it will guide you as you make change.
  11. Dissolve fear. Give it the gamma rays and zap it.  Let it go.  Silence it.  Replace fear with trust.
  12. Pay attention.  Always pay attention.
  13. Think affirmation rather than negation.
  14. Believe in CAN.

Eleanor also wrote: “Surely, in the light of history, it is more intelligent to hope rather than to fear, to try rather than not to try.  For one thing we know beyond all doubt: Nothing has ever been achieved by the person who says, ‘It can’t be done.’”

It can be done.  And it will be done if you allow yourself the freedom of choice to make change.  Follow the change.  Enjoy the change.  Be the change.

Nothing that I have written here is new.  It has been spoken, written, repeated, and recorded throughout the ages.  It has been sermonized and it has been put into song.  Repetition of platitudes is not the best teacher.  Experience is.  Embracing life is.  Taking the first step is.

But I somehow seem to need the reminders.  And it is empowering to foresee possibility and then feel the zing that coincides believing and knowing deep deep inside.  But it involves taking a ride, sometimes on the wild and brave side, to get to the good stuff.  Achieving is fantastic, but taking the ride is the true experience.  Taking the ride is the change.

 

 

 

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.

Secret Passages

a-writers-life-passage

theunseenwordsproject.com

A writer’s life is spent entering secret passages and opening doors.  If the passages are too dark or dim, I might take the time to turn around and go back to look for a light.  And if re-tracing my steps feels like it is too long ago, I might simply feel my way with my senses in the darkness.  After all, I might trip over a flashlight and kick it into life or develop human sonar or spy a flicker of light down one of the corridors or develop a seventh sense.  Anything could happen in these secret passages.  After all, I am the author.

If doors are locked tight, I may start to hunt for a  key.  Or not.  If looking for a key feels too time-consuming or futile, I might resort to one of those battering rams that you see in movies that involve crooks and the FBI.  Boom.  Open sesame.  It’s up to me.  I am the author.

[pas·sage (ˈpasij/) noun: the act or process of moving through, under, over, or past something on the way from one place to another.]

There are just so many remarkable words in this sparse definition.  Act.  Process.  Moving through, under, over, or past something.  On the way from one place to another.  Sometimes I forget  or take for granted or don’t pay attention to the ponderous weight that each word in our lexicon — any language’s lexicon — bears.  These varied words that writers place on the page bear a nuanced message that goes far beyond the symbols and morphology that transcribes experience into imagination.

Writing.  Socrates believed that writing was detrimental to the mind — that by writing something down, we have essentially dulled the mind’s ability to remember what is important.  Being a writer, I look at the written word differently.  Writing allows me to see my soul reflected back to me in a way that other experiences and relationships can’t.  It is a solitary journey perfect for the exploration of secret passages.  And my muse seems to like the secret passages the best.

 

Lillian Rose 1945 Mini Typewriter, 10 by 9.75 by 6.5-Inch

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GreatBIGCanvas Photographic Print with Black Frame, 36″ x 26″

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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! :)]

 

 

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)


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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

 

Life + Movement = Balance

bicycle einsteinCan you remember that first time you were actually pedaling, steering, and balancing a bicycle all by yourself?

“Life is like riding a bicycle.  To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”  Albert Einstein has had so many wonderful and uplifting quotes attributed to him.  Not only was the man a genius, but he was also very wise.

Life is like riding a bicycle.  If you are riding a bicycle and you stop moving, there’s a good chance that your balance will go all cattywampus and you will fall down. Boom and Ouch.

When it comes to bicycling and balancing, your options are somewhat limited: keep moving, stop moving and fall on the ground, or get off the bicycle completely and start walking.  And when it comes to life, we intuit and believe and know that out life options are not somewhat limited.  In fact, some of us believe that our options are infinite.  But are they?  I’m just wondering aloud here . . . what do you think?   I think that Einstein’s brilliance might be the answer here: Our options stay alive when we stay in balance our Higher Self with the pavement beneath us.

I like the spirit of Einstein’s quote and how he has reduced this simile to its simplest terms: ride or fall.  Keep going or get stuck.  And I do believe that some life changes have necessitated the need to trade in an old ride for a new one.

There are times in my life that I look back on and now can see that parking the bicycle was the best thing I could have done.  After living in a state of stagnancy, falling to the ground numerous times, and feeling the Ouch Factor, I finally came to my senses and parked the bicycle and walked away.  Heck, I didn’t even bother locking it up to a bike stand or a nearby tree because I knew that I was never going to give that bicycle another go.  Let someone else have it!  Some events in life are Good Riddance worthy.  At times like this, it is always good to select a new (and healthy!) set of wheels and ride like the wind off into a new paradigm.

Life, like a bicycle, is the vehicle we are riding.  Our infinite options in life are actually the directions in which we point our front tire.  The secret is to keep riding toward what we know are true directions to our Higher Self.  I have felt my spirit’s unsettling, intuitive nudge when I know that I have been pedaling in the wrong direction, and I have certainly experienced that feeling of What the heck have I done? right before crashing and falling.  Again.  My takeaway?  Patch up any scrapes and get back on the bicycle and find a balance point and keep moving forward.

Can you remember that first time you were actually pedaling a bicycle all by yourself?  It felt so liberating and exhilarating.   There was that split second when you felt your big brother’s hand leave the back of your bike seat and you felt your sense of balance kick into gear.  I so vividly remember this.  I went shooting down the driveway (and thank God that no car was coming up the street!), banked to the left and rode down the street to the cornfield that bordered the cemetery.  (Yes, I grew up in a very weird Midwest town!)

It was that split-second feeling that has stuck with me.  The second when I knew that I was balancing all on my own.  No sibling to steer for me or to keep us upright on two wheels when I was bumming a tandem ride on a back fender.  Just me, my hand-me-down sky-blue Schwinn, and the open road.  I rode all afternoon in the relative safety of the cemetery — the roads there being so peaceful.  I found My Balance while I practiced right turns and left turns.  Stopping and getting started again.  I arrived home feeling triumphant.  Liberated, actually.  I had discovered my independence.  My Movement.

Yup.  Einstein had it right.  Movement and Balance are key.  And let’s not forget Risk with a capital R.  It takes a lot of guts some days to take a deep breath and sail down the driveway, not knowing if you are going to keep riding or if you are going to crash to the pavement.  I believe that we all crave that feeling of Triumphant Balance in our days.  That feeling deep inside that tells us we are doing life justice with the right amount of movement and balance.

Today?  I am going to get back up on my Bicycle and ride like the wind.  There is no cemetery down the road from where I now live, but I am going to head there in my mind.  Back to that ultra-satisfying feeling of Balance and Movement.