Allowing Life To Grow Organically

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Surrendering allows us to let life unfold naturally. It is not giving up. It is easing up. Motivating ourselves to move through the day while allowing some room for give and take. For the surprises.

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Slowing down, allowing creative ideas to bake a while, not forcing the outcome. There is a freedom in that. Letting it go and watching it grow. Trusting that all truth will reveal itself and that creativity takes time.

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Trusting the process, paying attention to the details so I don’t get overwhelmed by the bigger picture. That makes sense. That feels right.

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Monday morning. Being comfortable with the unknown. Butterflies in my stomach. Agitated, Anxious, Aroused. Feeling the anticipation without fear. Like the first day of school.

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Fully owning this moment. Being present to it all. Giving up the resistance to change is liberating while fully approving of what is happening in my life right now, forces beyond my control take over, transforming my life.

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I  just feel grateful. Appreciating both the good and seemingly “bad”.

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The remedy? I remain focused on the details of the day.

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Painting: Swans Reflecting Elephants by Salvador Dali

Crucifying Ourselves & Rising From The Dread

Four weeks into The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity and I am drowning deep in dark emotional pain. Ugggghhhhh, I have protected myself from this real work for way too long. I knew it would be hard, I have avoided facing the truth about what I really fear for a very long time. Looking for short cuts, life hacks. . .rushing through self-repair is never really possible. And damn it, I knew that.

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I raise my face to the sky, my mouth wide open, gasping for air. It feels like I am flailing about in the dark, deep cold water, like a helpless, frightened child that has yet learned how to swim confidently through life, exposed to the unwelcome and unknown that I have hidden from myself and the world around me. I do all I can do to avoid facing what is real,  my own dark unknown vulnerable mind.

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I don’t want to to do this real work. I don’t want to know that I am broken. I don’t care to admit that I am confused, anxious, uncertain, vulnerable, frightened and angry. That’s not who I want to represent me. I want to skip past these ugly emotions. Run from them, crucify them. So what do I do?  I strive too hard to heal. I don’t want to do the real digging, fear-facing work. I don’t want dig too deep into my truth to find a fearful young child who must let got and feel all of these unwanted emotions.

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Who the hell wants to do that? Yet, I am inspired by the possibilities, by the words of Albert Camus

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger — something better, pushing right back.”

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It’s not easy being real with myself. It doesn’t feel good to actually observe the thoughts that ruin my plans each day. To actually accept how much pain I feel and inflict on myself each morning, as I awake with feelings of lack, insecurity and an incredibly raw feeling of being very, very lost and uncertain about where my life is going. It hurts me and in turn, it hurts others. Some how, some way, I must bring these feelings along for the ride, learning to befriend the parts of me that I find undesirable.

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The key to reaching our potential while feeling less shut off and shut down is linked to the ability to be able to see clearly who we are and what we’re doing. Going even beyond that, to the why we do what we do. What triggers our emotions and actions. What pain is behind the purpose.

It could possibly begin with opening up to the Five hard truths you need to accept about yourself.

Our inner critics negatively control the outcomes of our decisions. Our critical and suspicious thoughts place a black cloud and huge road blocks before our well-intentioned plans. We ruin the day before it begins when we don’t become honest with how we really feel and who we really think we are.

Underwater photography by Harry Fayt.

The Best Gift You Can Give

The best gift you can give anyone is your full and true presence.

Distractions are everywhere, and who has the time for anyone, really?

I resolve from this moment forward to make more time for truer communication with those I love. This is what makes life more memorable.

Generous Listening

Inspired by Becoming Wise

I’m thinking about how important it is to listen generously. How to compassionately communicate and hear another’s soul, even through the most difficult conversations.

To listen with an awakened heart & mind. To listen openly, without trying immediately to fix the problem at hand or impulsively come up with an answer right now.

To drop the agenda.

I’m thinking about how improved my relationships would be if I just follow the emotion of the moment, if I let the conversation flow.

What if I tolerated more of them and watched my timing of words?  What if I made room for the difficult to pour out, for the pain to set itself free?  Dissipate.

How would the conversation go if I were more flexible with my speech? If I softened my tone? If I held out my arms?

What if I let the conversation move where it will, if I gave up control?

Imagine if I released myself of judging everything to not a single word. How would it look if I decided to just observe it all as if I had never heard it before. What would I see?  If I listened less guardedly.

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Healing Words

The next opportunity I have for a true conversation I will include words of kindness. I will believe that I am exactly what is needed to help heal the situation.  Everything needs a measure of healing, don’t you think?

I vow to not let  differences define what is possible between us. I can argue with your opinion, but not your experience.

I will try, yes I will try very hard, to understand why you are behaving the way you are behaving. Perhaps you are in pain. What can I say or do to help you soothe it away?

I won’t look with anger, but I will try to find the good in you, even during your worst of rage.

A More Courageous Conversation

Even more importantly, I will open up my vulnerable parts to keep the conversation real. It may feel raw, uneasy and probably very uncomfortable, but that is where we grow. I will admit my weaknesses and recognize that what I have done so far has gotten me here, not where I want to be.

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Feature Photo – Artist: Egon Schiele

You are the Eyes of the World

From Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay on Behavior and the wonderful expressiveness of the human body.

Wise men read very sharply all your private history in your look and gait and behavior. The whole economy of nature is based on expression.

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The face and eyes reveal what the spirit is doing, how old it is, what aim it has. The eyes indicate the antiquity of the soul. . .

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An eye can threaten like a loaded and leveled gun, or can insult like hissing or kicking.  . .

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Pavel Guzenko

or in it’s altered mood by beams of kindness, it can make the heart dance with joy.

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The eye obeys exactly the action of the mind.

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Our eyes are projections of the self-absorbed movies we produce inside our minds. When we are lost in our self-delusional narrative, the imaginary stories we tell ourselves, we risk projecting our true soul.

 

Featured & posted drawings

Overdrawn Face Illustrations by Stefan Zsaitsits

Inspiration

Shortcuts to Self-Awareness

IMG_3887All the power that we need is within us and will set us free from a life of regret. All unnecessary worry and anguish melts away when we become more self-aware of our strengths and our weaknesses and realize that our greatest moment is the one right in front of us. Our lives become more peaceful and our minds become stronger. Our lives become better when we become more self-aware.

He who knows that power is inborn, that he is weak because he looked for good out of him and elsewhere, and so perceiving, throws himself unhesitatingly on his thought, instantly rights himself, stands in the erect position, commands his limbs, works miracles; just as a man who stands on his feet is stronger than a man who stands on his head.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson “Self-Reliance

Spend time considering who you are inside. What are your strengths? Your weaknesses? What makes you happiest?

Do you feel stuck? Unmotivated? Confused? I know in the past I have and this is what helped me become more self-aware and in turn happier and a more effective version of myself.

Uncork your truth. Tell someone how you really feel about life. Share your frustrations and pain. If you know someone who is having a difficult time, create the space for them to share their thoughts. Communicate effectively.

Observe yourself. Video yourself explaining who you are and what you stand for and what you value. Then  watch, learn and listen to yourself. Examine what rings true and what seems false. What might you change about yourself or think about more deeply. Remove the falseness from your speech and heart.

Ask others. Ask  people you respect and trust to share what they think you are great at and what needs improvement. Are they right? Weigh in on the feedback and think about how it will help you grow.

Try stuff. Consider what gets you even slightly excited and try to do more of it. It doesn’t matter what it is – exercise, cooking, writing, drawing, taking photos – if you feel the slightest inclination or curiosity about something, explore it and see where it goes. Self-experiment and do more of what you get lost in and what makes you happiest. Ditch the rest.

Consider the long game. Work backwards in time. Reflect on your  future and inevitable death. Discover what you want to leave behind for future generations to come. What do you want to be remembered for? 

I’d like to be remembered for inspiring others and would love to discover what you want to leave behind. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Expose Yourself

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A dear friend sent me this quote above via text message today. It came just in time and felt so very right.

I’ve also been thinking a tremendous amount about the importance exposing ourselves. Exposing ourselves to new music, food, friendships, work, skills – in order to grow.

And I have also been thinking about exposing our vulnerabilities. To be vulnerable and then share that vulnerability—which comes in many forms (awkwardness, shyness, joy, flirtation, upset, impatience)—with another person, leads to a more human relationship.

You discover you’re not alone. Other people feel the same way. There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re doing just fine. It’s okay to make mistakes.

In short, you cut yourself slack for being human. The truth is the most powerful form of connection.

Authentic Self Expression

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The interesting thing about blogging, vlogging or creating anything for the world to see on the internet, is that the moment we publish to the public we become vulnerable. The public in turn can detect fabricated, insincere and bogus information from a thousand miles away.  This is why advertising and marketing doesn’t work. Nobody wants anything sold to them. Especially bull shit.

Authentic Self Expression

As we set out to build and create we should consider and practice authentic self expression. How? By revealing our truth. No matter how scarred, pained, fragile or ugly the truth may be, the truth of who we are is what connects us all.

Our Essentia

The worst parts of our character, our essentia, our personality  hold the keys to the door to our most authentic and true selves. It is realtively impossible to create anything of true undisputed origin until we are holding our most shameful and vulnerable self with kindness and compassion. We should invite our naked, weak, unguarded selves  to contribute to our work. Whatever you call work. . .designing, building, writing, painting, filmmaking, serving, let it be the realest expression of you.

How can we be sincere and genuine until we acknowledge our disowned parts?

Read:The Tools: 5 Tools to Help You Find Courage, Creativity, and Willpower–and Inspire You to Live Life in Forward Motion

 

Note: Being oneself includes the journey of self-discovery, not reputation management. An interesting article on how social media effects our authentic self expression. Read more here.

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I’d love to know, how comfortable do you feel with your vulnerable side? How do you let your truth be told?

Living Intentionally

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I have come upon a shift in thinking.  It’s the difference between living a life that is unprepared, off-the-cuff and according to the demands and cries of others TO a more deeply connected, intentional and thoughtful life.

A life designed to inspire and ignite others.

It’s a conscious decision to move away from my “ad-libbed” life, towards an artful, improvised life with deliberate purpose and meaning.

“My life is not an apology, but a life. It is for itself and not for a spectacle. I much prefer that it should be of a lower strain, so it be genuine and equal, than that it should be glittering and unsteady.” Self Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson    Read Self Reliance

I will no longer live a reactionary life as I move away from ” making it up as I go” TO steering my life with clear intention and genuine vision, headed in the direction of my heart.

Honoring myself and the eternal verities every step of the way.

This choice I have made, to live a responsive and purposeful life. A deliberate and well-designed life sparked by deep inquiry.

I arrange each day in such a way that I am living thoughtfully, mindfully and respectively with the best version of me.

Inspired by

Actor and HB Studio Acting Coach David Deblinger 

Jonathan Fields

Michael Port’s Steal the Show: From Speeches to Job Interviews to Deal-Closing Pitches, How to Guarantee a Standing Ovation for All the Performances in Your Life

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Mastery synthesizes the years of research Robert Greene conducted while writing the international bestsellers The 48 Laws of PowerThe 33 Strategies of War, and The Art of Seduction and demonstrates that the ultimate form of power is mastery itself.

Mastery

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In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. Self Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The willful warrior, the worry-free wanderer, the mindful self-mastered and the curious creator . The spontaneous-seeker summoned by synchronicity.  The truth teller. May we all live intentional and thoughtful lives.

How are you living more deliberately today?

Some Other Race

the-black-and-white-cookie-620x300I was on standby jury duty yesterday. My first time ever and while I realize it is a privilege to serve I just didn’t want to go. Too much to do.  I am sure you can appreciate that.

Anyway, as I climbed the steps of the Supreme Court building (in much need of some TLC I should say), I made the deliberate decision that I would approach the day with a mindful curiosity, looking forward to learning a thing or two about our judicial system and the right to a fair and just trial. I have never been in a courtroom before. Judge Judy my only reference.

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Although I can go on and on about how even just a tad of technology could greatly improve a very antiquated system, I want to point out one single moment that left me absolutely dumb-founded.

It was filling out the 2010 (yes 2010)  census questionnaire.

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Seriously? In a racially diverse world where people consider themselves to be “global citizens”, we are still asking these questions?  According to Pew Research the US Census bureau is looking into changing the questions on the next census because more and more “Americans” don’t know how to respond to the “race” question. The Census Bureau’s overall goal is to reduce the number of people who select “some other race.” Read more here.

Now, my husband’s family is of German, Irish and English decent. My side of the family is Italian and Brazilian. Although our grandparents came to the US in search of the glowing promise of the American dream, we were both born here in America. Which leads me to a question my daughter asked me this morning.

“How do you feel about interracial marriage?”

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Photo: Richard and Mildred Loving never asked to be heroes of the Civil Rights movement. But when the state of Virginia deemed their interracial marriage illegal, the couple fought back. And won. More here.

Love Rules

I believe that love rules and color/race/nationality is irrelevant. If you are a loving and kind human, you deserve to be in a happy and beautiful relationship with another loving and kind human or alien for that matter. As long as the two, three, five of you are giving your best back to the world. Period. That’s what I believe Ariel.

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Love Rules

I have had fantasies about starting a website or podcast based on this whole “race” thing – this ridiculous act of defining ourselves by the color of our skin or the place we come from. Sure we have cultural and belief differences but I believe it is our duty to tolerate those differences with compassion and empathy as we raise our collective consciousness.  I hope you do to.

Note: Now, I completely appreciate the importance of gathering demographic data after all, I have spent my career as a marketing professional.

 

The Art of Mindful Living and Challenging Your False Limitations

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Living mostly in our minds we notice that it travels constantly between the past and the future. It rarely ever stops for a visit in the present moment.

Questioning Your Limiting Beliefs
Training oneself to awaken to the moment right now, to just stop the  senseless, ruminating thoughts and mindless chatter in the brain for just a second can help us break through false limits we have created for ourselves.

How it Works

Here were some of my limiting beliefs this morning.

I can’t run. I’m just not a runner. (I have seriously told myself this my whole life).
During my workout on the beach I challenged myself to run 50 seconds at a time. Interval running. I did it.

By questioning my false limitations, I re-frame the story I am telling myself. Now I know,  I can run.

Second false belief, I’m not creative. I don’t have the talent. I can’t draw, paint or photograph to save my life.
I challenged myself again. I took out my phone and recorded some video and photographs and used a VSCO filter.

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Look at that, I can take a photograph.

Third  False Belief

I don’t have the time to do what I want to do today. I’m so damn busy.

And now, I challenge that belief. My plan today is to challenge the way I waste time. I am committing myself to asking the question about everything I have on my list today –

Will this activity bring me closer to my intention? One step nearer to my goal?  If not, I will replace that activity with something that will. As I become more mindful of what I am doing all day, I will find the time for what is most important to me.

Think about it. What limiting belief is holding you back from breaking through and becoming a better version of you today? I’d love to hear how you are challenging your false beliefs today.

Pro tip – As you challenge yourself, re-frame your questions –
Don’t ask Can I?  ask  How will I?

How will I find the time? How will I learn something new today?  How will I honor myself?

Inspired by the book Mindfulness by Ellen J. Langer

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Read more here – Mindfulness, 25th anniversary edition (A Merloyd Lawrence Book)