Your default: Do you welcome or fear a Change of State?

flip-your-optimism-onLife has a way of grabbing my attention and reminding me daily of what’s important.  Loved ones.  Health.  Friendship.  Family.  Compassion.  Laughter.  My lovely dog companion.  Creativity.  Nutrition and exercise.  Meditation. Generosity of spirit.  Appreciation in the moment.  When I become distracted by the trivialities that numb this awareness,  I oftentimes find myself feeling confronted . . . or greeted . . . . by a Change of State.  Confronted or greeted?  How I determine Change’s perceived benevolence factor is how I shun or welcome it.

The other day I found myself frozen in a moment of experiencing a Change of State.  Frozen.  It was inevitable that a new paradigm was opening its doors to me.  And I was immobilized with fear.

The stealth speed Continue reading

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Salad Spinner Mindfulness

grow your mindI caught myself fretting this morning.  Fretting about nothing, really.  In an attempt to distract myself and put all of this fretting aside, I now sit here in one of my favorite coffee shops and, the same as most days,  put words on paper.  Rarely do I sit here and do nothing.  Mainly I think.  Ideas and memories and perceptions are tossed around in some Binary Amphitheatre of the Surreal and the Real, whirling them around and shooting them out onto the page in salad-spinner style.

I find myself in this divergent universe . . . Continue reading

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.]

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Leap & Land with a Bang

Check out this BBC video of mobula rays and their artistic, acrobatic, and aerobatic show.  They are spectacular.  Who knew that rays could leap — and land — so amazingly?   Their landing sends a huge boom through the water.  The higher they leap, the bigger the bang upon landing.  It is believed that the rays that make the biggest impact, give themselves the best odds of standing apart from the herd and of leaving with a mate.

Watch these fabulous flying rays (3:12):

http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150512-watch-these-giant-rays-fly

Mating rituals aside . . . when in a group, how do you stand out from the crowd?  How do you get noticed?  How do you draw attention to yourself?   This is not about ego-grabbing narcissism that demands every speck of attention in a social setting.  This is about expressing yourself in your immediate world such that you get noticed, feel understood, and build the best opportunities to connect with others.   Connection . . . it truly is what makes the world go around and is what gives significant meaning to what we do when we aren’t in the midst of connecting.  We, as humans, need connection . . . why not do it with a figurative bang?

So, taking a cue from the mobula rays . . . the higher the leap, the bigger the bang upon landing and the better chance to stand out from the crowd.  What is one thing you can do today or tomorrow or the next day to get noticed?  To make a difference?  To be you?  To exercise your unique you-ness?  Give yourself some credit for being important in the grand scheme of things.  Leap spectacularly and land with a big bang.

Being able to think of something that you will actually do might be a stretch for us introverts.  It might feel unnecessary or unbecoming or way out of one’s wheelhouse.  But why not try one little thing, make a change-up in your wardrobe.  Skip down the sidewalk to retrieve your mail.  Engage with the barista as you wait for your Americano.  Leaping is different for everyone; it is something only you can define for yourself.

Think One New Thing.  Leap and land and leap all over again.  It looks like these mobula rays are expending a tremendous amount of energy to go flying out of the water.  This is something that I think we sometimes want to avoid: The water feels so comfy.  I don’t think I can leap very high.  I’m not very athletic, after all.  Landing might cause me pain.  Someone might laugh at me or think I am weird.  Simply put? Expend the energy.  Your life will become different because of it.  I promise.

And the thing about leaping is that there is gravity on this planet.  You will land.  With a bang. Why not make it a Big Bang and stand out from the crowd?  Take a stand for you.  For a friend or a colleague or a student or a child or a stranger.  And for the world that surrounds you.  The Universe will thank you for it.

pencil stubClick on the sky blue link below for today’s journal prompt.  Have fun discovering (and making!) your leap!

Leap high and land with a bang. journaling prompt

[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.  Life is meant to be grown.]

Timshel & Epigenetics

Earlier in the week, I posted about your personality (Nature versus Nurture) and the Glory of the Choice (timshel).  These thoughts stayed with me throughout the week. . . and then I came across this TED talk today about epigenetics: “How the Choices You Make Can Affect Your Genes” by Carlos Guerrero-Bosagna.  Here is a summary of this TED talk: “Here’s a conundrum: Identical twins originate from the same DNA … so how can they turn out so different — even in traits that have a significant genetic component? Carlos Guerrero-Bosagna explains that while nature versus nurture has a lot to do with it, a deeper, related answer can be found within something called epigenetics.”

If you have 5:02 today, view this TED talk.  The information is very compelling, satisfying, and inspiring.  The way that it is explained in the talk is to “think of DNA as a recipe book.”  The narrator goes on to explain how “genes in DNA are expressed when they’re read and transcribed into RNA . . . which is translated into proteins into structures called ribosomes.”

And so the story unravels into the most intricate, yet simple, explanation as to how the choices you make in life very possibly affect your genes.  I have spoken with people who have done Genetic Re-writing work, and it now makes more plausible sense to me.  This is interesting research and, after thinking on the wisdom of Steinbeck’s timshel, it all ties together in a very pretty spiritual-genetic bow: thou mayest  + genetics play a synchronous role in how we experience Life.

Sometimes when things come together like this, Life feels both larger and smaller than I could have ever imagined.   Taking in the micro-vast world of genetics coupled with the infinite non-perimeters of the universe does a pretty good job of answering all of my questions for this week.  Sometimes I just have to sit back and say, “This is all quite amazing . . . and I don’t even need to understand the detailed intricacies to be a Believer.  I believe.

If you have a moment, please, do view this TED talk.  If you have ever wondered about Life on Levels of Infinite Curiosity, it will not disappoint.

How the choices you make can affect your genes – Carlos Guerrero-Bosagna

pencil stubYour journal prompt today (click below) is as simple and as a complex as is this topic of re-writing your genetics.  Keep your writing clean and simple and don’t go down any rabbit holes or garden paths.  Keep it easy and uncomplicated.  Listen to your Higher Self and record what it has to say.

Epigenetics and Choice. journaling prompt

[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.]

 

 

 

 

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.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/juliapugachevsky/this-cube-personality-test-will-absolutely-blow-your-mind?utm_term=.onK9zJNbz&sub=4259074_8744597

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

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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!]

 

Follow Your Own Heart

Almanac Directions . . .

“From my own experience, I want to say that you should follow your heart, and the mind will follow you. Believe in yourself, and you will create miracles. Kailash Satyarthi

Journal prompt for today: It’s time to create some miracles.

Click on the link below:

You can’t get lost if you follow your own heart. Journal prompt

Print this prompt out, 3-hole punch it, and start your True Directions binder . . . or simply write your three things down in your journal.   Take the 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.

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