Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Pale Walls of Dreams, Between Myself and All I See

I love road trips.  I really love them.  I can’t get enough of them. It may have something to do with my childhood.  I can't remember taking a single trip in my childhood that involved an airplane.  I adore flying, but I love having all the random experiences you have that can only happen on the road.

There is something amazingly wonderful about having the experience of arriving somewhere understanding exactly what it took to get there; seeing the land, interacting with the people at each of your random stops, seeing new cities, exploring the culture outside of your own place of residence, and experiencing the weather in a way that can’t be experienced when you fly to a destination.

There’s also something awe-inspiring about exploring the many different winding roads of my own country.  It intrigues me.  I find the differences and similarities in the landscape from state to state to be fascinating.

Driving from New Mexico and ending up in North Carolina, eating BBQ in Mississippi along the way—these experiences keep the mind fresh and life interesting.  Some of my best travel experiences have been on the road.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

I Never had to Search for My Destiny; I Only had to Obey It

I have been thinking about the value of visualization lately. It is so crucial. I think it could easily be said that anybody that has succeeded at anything has visualized what they want - and visualized it very clearly.

Lately I've been taking a long hard look at who I want to be-- instead of who I thought I had to be. It's been an interesting journey.  I feel like a little duck on a pond, wondering which part of the shore I should paddle toward.  Full-time fashion blogger?  Write a novel?  Write short stories for magazines?  Self publish cocktail recipe books?  Do I want to write freelance for someone else?  Do I want another person taking credit for my writing?  Who do I want to be?  Do I want it all?  Can I do it all?  These are just a handful of important questions I ask myself every day.

For me, I think that what is most important is to feel good about what I am doing.  It is not easy creating your own path in life, but one thing to remember is that you can still make money while doing what you love! I think it is a common misconception in our society to think you are trading off money for passion or purpose - you can have them both and then some!  But you have to follow passion and purpose first, not the money.

The reason it is called the road less travelled is simply because most of us spend our time living a life that was laid out for us, step by step. Get our high school diploma, go to college, get a degree, get a job, make a living to support ourselves, find a partner, have a family, support our family, work hard so we can enjoy life later, kids grow up and move out, retire from our jobs and finally you can enjoy your life—or what is left of it.

I know plenty of people who have spent a large amount of time in college just because that is what society told them they must do, but the moment they've graduated they have no idea what to do next.  Some manage to find a job within their area of expertise, but then realize that it's not really what they want to be doing.  Some love the path they've chosen to study.  Some get degrees only to work minimum wage jobs. 

The point is that living on auto-pilot only avoids the process of introspection and the journey towards finding purpose. I've spent a few years in college myself, but finally admitted to myself that it simply wasn't the kind of environment I thrive in.  I may have no financial security, but I think that's a myth to begin with; nobody has financial security. And even if it existed, would you sell your passion for that security?  I believe that when we do what we're passionate about, and focus on serving the world by adding value, it's only a matter of time until you attract the resources you need to keep your passion going.  We live in a universe of co-operation and co-creation.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

I Find My Strength in Passion and Love

There is something about stillness and quiet that seems to open the mind.  I think that by eliminating some of the normal “noise” going on in our lives, we are able to finally hear what we’re trying to say to ourselves.  For me, morning is the best time for this to occur.

I prepare my mind for writing by silencing inner chatter.  I remind myself that I am confident that there are many ideas available to me.  I then allow the ideas to flow into my mind and then onto paper.  This almost sounds like writing as prayer.

I find the best way for me to start is to go outside and take a walk – ideas come to me naturally when I'm outdoors.  I may have to deliberately focus on stilling my mind if nothing comes to me, but that is a rarity.  When I get home I start writing.  If I get stuck along the way, I go for more walks.

Since I write every single day, there always seems to be a part of my brain that is on alert for story and article ideas.  At that time, the only thing that registers is ‘huh, that could work!’   Then as I am doing something quiet, like walking or running, my mind starts to formulate the direction the story/article will take.  It’s not really a deliberate or conscious process.  Thoughts are still just drifting through.  Finally, when I am ready to write, I sit down, block out the world, and let the story unfold.  In order for all this to take place, I need to make sure I have ‘quiet time’ every single day.  It’s good for the soul, and good for the stories.

For me surrendering to the writing process and allowing ideas to come up organically is powerful and exciting.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

So I Say to You, Ask and it Will be Given to You

Negative beliefs are born from our wounds and stories.  Although is seems so obvious to me now, I never realized how much negativity in our lives comes from a sad event, etc.

The pain prevents us from seeing the wounds we've worked so hard to conceal or forget about but I strongly believe that once you've gotten a glimpse "behind the veil" so to speak, you are forever changed. There is a fundamental growth that happens when you are able to look deep within and discover the hidden parts of yourself.

I think the most important thing I've learned is that change is a process which means there will be times of growth and times of regression. Instead of expecting myself to "overcome" my negative beliefs or instantly require myself to be more positive (and beating myself up when I'm not), I try to be patient with myself and honor wherever I am in the process. Also, I don't think it's so much about sustaining the change as it is about approaching each difficult situations as a new opportunity to make the conscious choice not to let these thoughts and feelings completely control my actions.

Surrender is about vulnerability and receptivity.  The opposite of surrender is resistance and control.  And it all comes down to fear and trust.

To truly open our hearts, to truly wield our inner power, we must be willing to participate in life.

This requires both owning our part in situations, and allowing experiences to unfold as they will. Accepting others’ actions and emotions without making them fit into some box as a hero or demon. And especially releasing our mental constructs about how life should be, what we should or should not be doing, and how other people should interact with us.

Letting go of past situations didn't mean I was immediately healed from them. That's certainly not the case. I still experience feelings of intense fear and unworthiness. I still become frustrated with concepts such as dating and wondering if I'll be alone forever.

However, in each of these moments I realize that I have a choice. I can either sink deep into the comfort of my negativity and marinade in it because it makes me feel safe and then act out in ways that are harmful.  Or, I can acknowledge the feelings as they occur and then choose to manage them in more effective ways (i.e. calling a supportive friend, writing about it, etc.). It's all about creating a kind and forgiving relationship with yourself instead of an adversarial (I must control myself) type of relationship.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Love Makes Your Soul Crawl Out From Its Hiding Place

Like most people I have hopes and dreams, but I also have fears and anxieties about my life's purpose. I am starting to realize that I can find my purpose and make it tangible.

Now, I have no delusion that I will ever be a top-selling recording artist, and it’s highly unlikely that I will ever win a Nobel Prize. But I know that I have at least some rudimentary writing skills and that I love writing.
I am a writer. I want to make it my life’s work in a way that is both personally satisfying and that adds something significant to the greater good.

I am virtually certain that all I need to become the writer I want to be is a massive amount of faith, practice, inspiration constructive criticism, late nights, improvement, rejection, anguish, and joy.
Ultimately everyone needs inspiration to keep them moving toward their dreams. If it's inspiration that is needed we only have to look to other ordinary people who are pursuing their dreams and passions.
We also have to realize that we can be the source of inspiration for others.
While we can’t always be role models for everyone in every specific endeavor, we can always offer encouraging words and support. It is amazing how a few encouraging words can be a catalyst for someone.
Encouragement can remind others that to be extraordinary, one only has to be ordinary!

The only thing we must remember is that people who have already realized their dreams didn’t just wake up one morning being extraordinary at what they do. They fiercely protected and nurtured their dreams.
If I want to make my dreams come true, I must do the same—and I must realize the things I want most are, in fact, entirely within me.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

We Love the Things We Love for What They Are

It is better to walk away from a job that does not fulfill you and bring you happiness than to continue to go through the motions in a job that drains you. After 20 years in Corporate America, making lots of money for the companies I worked for, I walked away and am now working to reinvent myself. It was scary to leave, but I've never been happier with a decision I've made.  

I remember when Oprah used to tell people to work at something that brings you happiness; that you're passionate about... the money would come. It used to bother me because I was not passionate about what I did. I was good at it, but I was not passionate about it. I just never thought that I would ever find a career that would suit me and fill that need.

Sometimes opportunities present themselves in the most difficult of situations and all we need to do is be open to the possibilities.  Through necessity, I found myself wanting to reinvent myself and perhaps find that passion that I lacked early in my career.  Now that I am beginning to realize what my dream is, I don't plan to look back.

The money does come, eventually, if you work hard enough at what you are doing.  I expect it to come in much better figures than it ever did with my salary.  I am setting my sights very high.  I am building the life of my dreams and mentoring others to do the same along the way. I am using my unique skill set to build my own business and it is more fulfilling than anything I've done in the past and certainly more fulfilling than I could have ever dreamed.  

The freedom to pursue your heart’s desires and to build on your passions is not over-rated. The freedom to design the life you want to live is the greatest gift you can give yourself!

Take small steps today, volunteer, network with others that have similar interests, practice what you love, imagine your dream life and start living as if it already exists. 

"If there is no passion in your life, then have you really lived?  Find your passion, whatever it may be.  Become it, and let it become you and you will find great things happen FOR you, TO you and BECAUSE of you.” – Alan Armstrong.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Your Gaze Across My Cheeks Turned Them to Strawberry Fields

“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face…we must do that which we think we cannot.” –Eleanor Roosevelt 

I have always been a rebel—independent, and a bit of a loner. I’ve always prided myself on self-sufficiency.  

For me, this has served my current goal of doing what I want to do with my life, regardless of whether I have any support from the outside world or not. 
I love that I am doing what excites and challenges me.  I work on my goals as much as I can, day by day.  I know that if I stick to them, eventually, I will get to places and heights I've only dreamed of.  That doesn't mean every goal flows perfectly.  I have my challenges, too.

I think, as humans, we can all be a little too hard on ourselves, sometimes.  It is easy to put ourselves down and focus inwardly when we are having a bad day.  Most days, if asked, I would say that I am a happy positive productive person.  But there are days where I feel weighed down.  On those days, I end up worrying too much about problems and other people.  Those are the days where I try very hard to 'count my blessings' and I usually drag myself out of negative thinking. 

It's during these tough times that we should celebrate everything that is great about us.  I love the idea of writing a list, dancing around the room to music and generally reminding myself how much 'I rock'.  There is nothing like positive affirmations and great happy music to lift one's spirits.
Each instance where I have walked away from an emotionally damaging and draining situation has shown me more of my own strength.  In each moment I never knew what would happen next.  But I never let the unknown stop me from following my heart. 

The unknown may seem daunting, but it is a doorway to opportunities.  I realized that taking a leap of faith toward freedom from negativity far outweighed staying and enduring it.  The tears, the stress, the frustration, and the physical and mental toll that it takes on you are never worth it.  I’d rather have tears of laughter.  I’d rather help others find their way out of negative situations. 

Each time you rid yourself of negativity, you leave room for the positive.  For every negative situation I left behind, I came across many positives.  There are so many good people in the world and so much life to experience.

I tell you though - it takes great courage and character to live like this and I hope these words help others to see the light too.