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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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.

You’ve got this!

flip-your-optimism-on

thenseenwordsproject.com

When some positivity is just what you need, flip your optimism to ON.

  • When things don’t feel like they are going quite right and discouragement is hovering and waiting to swoop into your heart, it’s time to flip your optimism to ON.
  • Replace those voices (the voices that tell you that there isn’t any hope or that you have already tried and tried but to no avail) with inner shouts of joy that say, You’ve got this!   
  • Let your little light shine and eradicate those dark  thoughts that try to convince you that success is for those other people who, of course, were bound to be successful anyway, right?  (Wrong!)
  • Your light?  Let it shine and shine some more.
  • Believe.  Trust.  Know.  You’ve got this.  You truly do.

When you think you can’t.

You’ve got this.  I used to go to the gym each night after work, the kind of gym that offered those maniac spinning classes.  I used to look in to the classroom and watch those spinning pedals and sweating bodies and think, “That looks way above and beyond my physical abilities.”  I wanted my body and my mind to perform like the spinners in that class, but it looked so exclusive — like it was for people who were in far better shape than I was, both physically and mentally — and kind of technical really, what with having to adjust your bike just so.

Well, I met the instructor, Scott, one day when he was coming out of one of the classes.  Scott asked me if I would ever be interested in trying a class.  He told me that spinning is for everyone, and that he thought that I would love it.

I decided to just try.

I decided to try it.  I went to that first class and Scott was there, ready to help me adjust my bicycle so my ride would be comfortable, write down the adjustments so I could do it on my own for my next class, and make sure that I had a full water bottle.

It didn’t take long into that first class and I was hooked.  Scott wasn’t one of those class instructors who shouted and berated exercisers to push beyond their perceived abilities.  His mantra throughout class was always positive: “You’ve got this!”  Scott understood that optimism and encouragement were what helped people to grow and to be excited about new challenges.  The class was not only fun but spiritual, too.  The hard workout put my head into a new place that out-rode (pun intended) the thoughts from the day that were still chasing me.

While we pedaled like crazy, added resistance, stood up, sat down, and stretched to cool down, Scott told everyone how great they were doing.  He adjusted all of his instruction accordingly:  for those who were struggling with a particular ride, he offered alternatives so that everyone’s workout would be rewarding . . . and he ramped things up for those who had been coming to the class for a while and wanted even more challenge.

Success is a good fit for everyone. 

It was one of those very rare classes that fitted everyone.  We all added some visible muscle during those classes, and we all grew a good measure of inner strength as well.  We learned that we could do our best and feel good about it — no matter what we each had accomplished in class.

I don’t know if I fell in love with spinning or if I simply so appreciated Scott’s much-needed encouragement.  Maybe both.  In the ways of time and change, Scott moved to Portland, and I moved to an island.  I live where there are zero spinning classes and the mountain behind my house serves as my combination elliptical trainer, spin bicycle, and treadmill.

The elevation gain up the mountain is a gentle master and is much less challenging than the spin classes.  When I am out walking, I think about the other challenges in my life that have nothing to do with breaking a sweat or making another loop before heading home.

 

Encouragement is key.

We all need someone or something in our lives that motivates us to reach for that light switch — that extension of ourselves that pushes us to exceed our own expectations.  I used to hear from Scott from time to time, but it’s been a while.  When I do hear from him, he always has encouraging words to say.   Scott is one of those people who helps others keep their optimism flipped to On.  Thanks, Scott.  I’ve got this!

How about you? 

  • What have you been wanting to try?  To explore?  To do just for the fun of it?
  • Think about what it is and imagine yourself doing it, sensing it, being it.
  • Take the first step — it can be a Baby Step or a Giant Step — but take the first step.
  • What have you got to lose? [Nothing, right?]
  • What do you have to gain?  [Exactly!  Everything!]
  • Find a Scott in your life to help you stay focused.  Ask for encouragement and for accountability.
  • Remind yourself: You’ve got this!  Tape this message up throughout your home, in your vehicle, at work.
  • Be a Scott to someone else.  When you give encouragement to others, it makes such a huge difference and, like any kindness, will be returned to you many times over.
  • Keep the cycle going.  Thank the Scotts in your life.  It will make their day and it will encourage them to give even more to others.

 

Author bio: Kennedy Farr’s passion for writing first caught light at the age of four when she learned how to write her dog’s name P-e-p-p-y on a sheet of lined tablet paper.  Kennedy is a daily writer and blogger, a lifelong learner, and a true believer that something wonderful is happening right now in this very moment.  Kennedy lives view-high on the mountainside of an emerald-green island in the Pacific Northwest.

 

 

Celebrate Transition

last weeks of summer

theunseenwordsproject.com

Although I very much enjoy the heat and sunshine of summertime, I always look forward to the change in season.  The cooler temperatures, the colors of the leaves, the crispness in the morning air . . . these things are like a happy pinch to the soul, reminding it to appreciate the warmth and the sunglow, as it is soon to be replaced by gray skies and rainy days.  Rain, rain, and more rain.

Living in the Pacific Northwest, it helps if you like the rain.  Well, I like it a lot.  The rain sheds a whole new slant on life.  It draws your attention to how nature feels on your skin.  It replenishes the air with something indefinably sweet.  It helps you appreciate your inordinately high volume of cute rain boots, puddle jumpers, and lightweight coats.

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theunseenwordsproject.com

The rain encourages you to linger a little longer over that second cup of coffee.  In fact, it might be mid-afternoon and you think about having a mid-day cup to brighten the day. You lose track of where you last left your sunglasses because it has been a while since you needed them.

The muted colors and shifting fog also mark the fall and winter days.  There is an exquisite softness in the air that reminds you to pause for a moment and breathe before getting into your truck.  You wake up in the morning and you can smell the salt in the air.  The birds are quieter and the squirrels are more active.

IMG_2908

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As much as I enjoy a beautiful autumn rain, I do appreciate these lingering weeks of summer.  The days when I go to work, having forgotten my raincoat.  The late-evening walks that spell out a crimson and peach sunset.  The warm afternoons when I forget that fall is soon to arrive.

It’s all so beautiful, isn’t it?  These periods of transition awaken us and embolden us.  We feel inspired to try new things when we feel nudged by nature.

What is one new thing you have been wanting to learn?  To try?  To do?  Visualize your New Thing inside the box below: 

Image result for square shape

Now visualize your New Thing outside the box:

Image result for square shape

Maybe now is the time to prioritize your preference and just do it.  There is no time like the present to create your own season of transition and change.

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The Things I Thought I Wanted: a diary with a lock and key . . . and the thing about secrets

diary-1449287_960_720Oh, how I wanted a diary when I was a girl.  You know the kind . . . a beautiful girly girl’s diary with a lock and key.  And I was simply ecstatic the Christmas when I was ten years old and I received one.  Mine had a navy blue cover with gold embossing and “1 Year Diary” gold-stamped into the cover.  I simply loved it!  I can still remember the sound that the gilt-edged pages made when I opened it for the first time . . . It felt like that crinkly sound was opening its pristine, glued-together pages to the secrets I was about to share with it.

Well, that’s the thing about secrets.  No matter how much we try to preserve them or hide them from the prying eyes and inquiring minds that intersect our life, they are [sometimes] doomed to be discovered . . . paraded . . . maybe even disrespected.  We feel violated when our secrets have been made public without our permission.

It takes a lot of risk and guts to commit a secret to the page . . . a lesson that I was quick to learn at this young age.  My hopes of finding my true self via those gilt-edged pages were temporarily dashed when my big sister read my diary entries aloud — pages that detailed my first big crush [Dean W.], in front of said crush, who was my big brother’s best buddy.

maple-leaf-638022_960_720I learned a lot that day about secrets and sisters and writing and locks and keys.  I learned that just because something has a lock on it, doesn’t mean that it can’t be jimmied open.  I learned that secrets can be made un-secret when they fall into the wrong hands.  That, although it can be risky, it’s okay to be honest with my thoughts.  That what someone else chooses to do doesn’t define who I am.  That although I might feel a wee bit discouraged, I am going to keep writing.

It took some time to view things from my sister’s perspective.  I learned that people do things that they don’t really intend to be hurtful in long-lasting ways.  That what might seem funny at the time, never really was in the first place. And that sisters somehow stick together, even when they do things that aren’t very nice.

french-1040839_960_720I am happy to have survived the awkwardness, and — now all the stronger — I have maintained my love and discipline of writing.   And in the ways of true forgiveness, I have since pardoned my diary-reading, secret-disclosing sister.  We are still the best of friends.

But you know how writing is.  It liberates us, even when life sort of sucks.  Writing asks us to pay attention to the details, even when it hurts.  Little does this sister know that she is the muse for an extremely unattractive, glowering villainess who gets her payback comeuppance in one of my current short stories.

But this is the way of writing.  You can change what is now by writing it into a different room or even onto a different planet.  Does reality change?  I don’t know how to answer this.  I only know how to live it.  And write it.  And tell my sister that I love her dearly, because I do.  And keep my journal hidden when she comes to visit.

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! :)]

 

 

Make an Heirloom Moment

heirloom hearts. take time

theunseenwordsproject.com

What is one thing that you take for granted that someone does for you?

There are so many little things that we take for granted, don’t you agree?  Little things and big things.

What are a few of the little things and the big things that friends, family, colleagues, your pets, even some strangers have done and continue to do for you?  I encourage you to reciprocate and to let them know that you do appreciate their time, thoughtfulness, and effort.  It will be so very much appreciated!

If you would like a step-by-step workshop on writing the perfect note of appreciation, provide your contact information below, and I will send you a PDF from this workshop.

You know that your note is a smashing success when your special person feels like an even better person after reading it!  Great job!