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“Success demands singleness of purpose.”

–Vince Lombardi

One of the books I am reading recently is a never-before-released Napoleon Hill book titled, “Outwitting the Devil.”  It is considered a controversial book in the “New Thought” realm, and in fact he and then his wife and later nephew’s did not want to publish it for this exact reason. It wasn’t until the nephew’s wife died that it was then published in 2011, approximately 73 years later.

Those that know me well know that a belief in a physical devil, red-skinned, horned, and pitched forked does not at all exist in my world of reality.  And Hill I feel rides the fence here and is perhaps purposely ambiguous, perhaps to be heard/understood by all parties.  One could read this book as religious, spiritual, or psychological, and all three I find challenge by beliefs and understandings up until now…which is exactly what appeals to me.  I find the parallels of ideas in Steven Pressfield‘s, ” The War of Art” to be striking, which is significant to me personally since I just “happened upon” both of these books.

I’m not going to give a full on book report or dissertation, but want to note something specific that struck me.  In this book, he states how “definiteness of purpose” is the key to being a “non-drifter,” how to succeed in one’s life.  He defines “hypnotic rhythm” as a natural law, which is then how the majority (he states 98%) fall into the habits of “drifters” because of their indefiniteness, and how the other 2% of the population uses this law in collaboration with their definiteness of purpose to habitually live the life of the “non-drifter.”  You can easily know which you are currently (although you could be moving towards one or the other either by conscious decision and commitment) by taking a look at your life:  your finances, your health, your relationships, how you feel about your work, etc.  To be in the population of the 2% non-drifters, all areas of one’s life must contain the through line of one’s purpose.  The reason that there is such a large percentage of drifters is because most don’t consciously know or ask themselves (or believe that they can/are allowed) what their purpose is.  The truth, however, is that every single person has their own individualized purpose and that this purpose can be easily accessed;  all one really has to do is do that 2nd grade mantra: “Stop, Look, and Listen.”

I bring this up now not because this is new information to me, but because an “aha!” light went on this morning when pondering these concepts.  I was inspired to pull out the book I created from the Intentions Retreat I went on in 2010.  I flipped to the page of my “purpose statement” and reread what I wrote, comparing it with my current 2012 Intentions journal.  I’m not going to share what I wrote in 2010 here, as I am realizing there is power for me in keeping it to myself (much like one would in acting out a scene in theatre;  there is often more power in the unsaid and in the doing).  But I want to note that even at that time, there was a word in my statement that came to me, but looking back I get that it was too big for me to grasp and accept at the time (or better said, so I thought).  I remember battling with this word, bringing it up in the group, and even embarrassed and feeling that I was being completely brazen for even suggesting it (as in a “who am I kidding or trying to fool”).  I scratched the word out and changed it more than once (even in the final copy of my book).  In my 2011 and 2012 books, that word didn’t come back, and suddenly this morning while reading all of this I GOT IT. And I don’t know how quite to explain, other than in perhaps acting terms.  The purpose of one’s life is like their intention.  When you have a play, you have all kinds of beats, scenes, acts;  you can look at the whole of the play and you can break it up into these smaller and smaller chunks.  Each chunk can have its individualized tactic, but during the entirety of the play your character is going after one big SPECIFIC centralized intention/objective.  And it’s always about doing/action and it’s always about in order to affect outside of oneself.   Living one’s passion alone (with the focus on “what I will get from it”) will never lead to enduring success.  I focus on the word enduring because obviously it is possible to reach temporary success on passion alone, as we have seen with so many.  But only those who find and ground themselves in their purpose will be able to stay there.  For enduring success the focus must be on one’s purpose, which allows the freedom to continuously live out the passions.  The purpose is the intention of one’s life; the passion is the chosen method of joy in how this purpose is achieved (I say “chosen” although in truth the passion almost always “chooses” us).  While often the passion is what is initially ignited and then opens one’s eyes to their purpose (although if they access their life, they will usually see how they were already unconsciously living it), it is the purpose, not the passion, that must be so alive in a person that the stakes are then raised so high that they are  then free in the faith of said purpose.  This leads to the willingness to risk their full vulnerability(giving-ness) of self in the how of their tactic(s)/passion(s).

I probably could actually write an entire dissertation on this and go on and on and on (you know, like I just did), but for now I’m going to leave it at that.  I get that this understanding has come to light in conjunction with all of the recent action I have been taking in my life.  And now I get, as in GET get that Master Key that keeps that flame burning.  It was a question that had been rolling around in my brain for so long in frustration because I was only obtaining grasps of the answer in a very generalized way.

“The price of anything is the amount of life you

exchange for it.”

–Henry David Thoreau

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Never underestimate what you can do when you believe in yourself.

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(Find out more about “Being Elmo” here.)

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IMAGINATION IS EVERYTHING

 

“Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.”

–Albert Einstein

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The last two days have been interesting, illuminating, fascinating, hopeful, and freeing,  and yes I did miss a blog entry yesterday because of it.  The more information my brain has been taking in, the more focused (re: obsessed) I have become, which has evolved to feeling like it is impossible to pull away from the task at hand.  (Disclaimer:  before you read any further, please know that this is an extremely narcissistic self reflective entry (much more personal that I actually feel comfortable doing, but I feel it might help someone else out there, so I’m doing it anyway), so if that kind of stuff isn’t your cup of tea, you might want to click on.  You’ve been warned.)

 

Let me back up.  Last week marked the 1 month anniversary of me being out of work due to my arm injury, and as I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve finally become open to the possibility that going back to waiting tables might not be physically feasible.  So I’ve been brainstorming “what else can I do what else can I do what else can I do” in morning pages, meditation, creative writing sessions, etc.  Now some that know me might say why not go back to ASL interpreting, and I will actually answer the why not (other than the shoulder injury) later in this post.   I went over to Jeff’s place on Saturday and actually even brought up this dilemma and the bigger dilemma of feeling so stuck in a wishy-washy I REALLY don’t know where to go from here place.  On Sunday I was thinking about this more, and for fun googled something like “career placement test,” but what came up was a slew of websites to take the Jung /Brigg Myers personality tests.

 

Now I’m sure I’ve taken these tests before (probably many times before), but for whatever reason they never really stuck with me or carried a lot of weight in my mind.  I actually suspect that in the past I (not purposely) answered them how I would *like* to be rather than how I actually am.  This time when I took the tests (and when I say tests, I do mean several different ones, although ultimately I found this one to be the most accurate and helpful), and repeatedly got similar answers, and bells went off and the skies opened and angels began to sing.

 

 

Before I go any further, I just want to say and acknowledge I am by no stretch of the imagination an expert on the personality types (yet).  The basic test(s) can give you some insight, but the actual layers to them run pretty thick and deep.  I really look forward to learning more and more because they give you incredible insight and self awareness to how you think, process, and output information into the world on a conscious and unconscious level.  I almost think the world “personality” is deceiving because it really isn’t that simple and it’s about so much more than whether someone is “outgoing” or “shy” or SEEMINGLY (key word there) “cheerful,” “pessimistic,” or the gazillion other ways you could define a personality.  Human beings, their minds, internal worlds, and expressions are just so much more complex than that.

 

So after hours of pursuing and test taking and researching, I was able to confidently conclude this:  my personality type preference is INFP with strong tendencies also toward INFJ and ISFP.  What does all that mean?  Rather than give you the extremely long list of the clinical definitions, I will point you towards this site which gives great explanations of the 16 individual types, their strengths, weaknesses, etc.  There IS a test available on there, however it costs $5, and there are plenty of free ones available (like I mention above).  If you want to pay for a test, I would recommend instead paying (a much higher price) for a more in-depth analysis that will provide you with a lot more detailed information and feedback.  There are also tons of other sites that provide information, as well as a plethora of youtube videos available, so I won’t bore you with going into every single minute detail of all of the traits of these three personality types.

 

What I will share is this:  discovering this and reading upon each of these was a HUGE aha of validation as a person for me.    Each of the three types are rare (INFP making up about 4% of the population, INFJ making up about 1%, and ISFP making up about 6%).  Both INFP and INFJ fall under that “Idealist” personality category while ISFP falls under the Artisan personality category.   All three need substantial time alone to recharge, which I have always felt has been one of the biggest issues of importance for me (more on why below).   I find the test results to be very accurate, with me having mostly INFP qualities, but also definitely demonstrating some of the qualities of INFJ and ISFP as well.

 

So far my explanation here  has been limited and clinical, but if you’re still reading this, stay with me.  INFPs are highly intuitive and emotionally feeling people, the most so out of all of the other types. But they actually tend to internalize this so that unless you really know them or are with them when a situation will bring this out, you may perceive something entirely different (either showing little or no emotion at all, or “seeming” angry or sad).  One of the facial characteristics tends to be a scowl or frown, and I can’t tell you how many co-workers in NYC have asked me “what’s wrong” when I’m perfectly happy and content but just thinking.  I’ve also had the reverse happen, like when I was training this woman on an extremely busy day, and I was stressed out of my MIND with sensory overload of work and keeping everything together and then having to train her at the same time; I turned to my trainee and apologized for my temperament, and she very seriously and genuinely said, “What do you mean?  You seem completely calm to me.”  Inside I  felt ready to explode at any moment.   And then another common facial gesture tendency, which I am well aware that I do, is to pause a lot when talking and look up (to think).

 

Now I want to bring this together with HSP, so I’m going to backtrack a little more.  Last winter, I was co-facilitating a “The Artist’s Way” workshop and part of the “homework” was to create a vision board of sorts.  I was going through magazines, ripping out inspirational pictures that called me, when I came across an article in Oprah Magazine.  The article was on Highly Sensitive People, a condition I had never heard of before or even knew existed.  As I read the article, I was immediately aware of how much the description fit *ME*, and took the little test they had afterwards to affirm that this was indeed the case.  Now, I realized this was just a magazine article, and I don’t really take a lot of worth from magazine tests, so I did further research and eventually bought Elaine Aron’s book, The Highly Sensitive Person in order to obtain more accurate information.  I looked through and read it a bit, but became a little overwhelmed to really being motivated enough to go through it deeply and work out the exercises, so despite its accuracy, on a shelf it went.

 

There is SO much I could say about HSP.  It has been somewhat debatable (although becoming much more accepted) within the scientific community, but I can tell you that it is absolutely 1000% real and fully exists.  It is hereditary in nature (my mother is without a doubt HSP) and actually physiological in nature, which then impacts the psychological and cognitive processes.   HSPs make up about 15-20% of the population, and 80% of them have the Introversion trait in the Jung/Briggs Myers personality classifications.  Like the 16 personality types, all HSP people are individual so of course not everyone experiences it exactly the same way.  The lines seem to blend a little with INFP and HSP, and HSP probably influences the other (I would be surprised if most HSPs weren’t INFPs), so I will just tell you how it is for me.

 

I have light sensitivity (both too much and not enough) and cannot tolerate neon lights for any real length of time (it will often effect me to the point where I can’t keep my eyes open and I have actually nodded off at a VERY inappropriate time, re: meeting, because of this).  At home, this manifests as me constantly turning on and off different lamps and lights as my needs fluctuate.  Noise is a big factor (and I am positive Jack is HSP for this same reason, although also many others, because we have the same crazy sensitivity).  The sound of chewing or smacking lips when eating drives me absolutely insane, and if I hear it, I need a noise distracter of some sort (like the TV), or to find a way to focus on something else.  Or just get up and leave the room (and I have done this).  The noise sensitivity is an issue to such a degree that Jack and I have actually moved apartments over it (over what most others would probably tolerate or even consider normal), and we now know that we can never ever ever ever live below somebody (which may prove challenging this summer looking for a new place).  I can be sensitive to smells, sounds, movement and space (meaning someone within the peripheral vision of my space), the latter which has the ability to cause a lot of irritation, stress, and/or anxiety, especially if I am trying to focus or concentrate.  I feel deeply.  When I say deeply, I mean so deeply sometimes it hurts.  I love people and humanity more than can ever be expressed and yet sometimes I have such vile disdain for their hateful or even unaware, destructive, and/or cruel selfish ways that it kills me.  I know a lot of people probably feel very similar, but I experience this not only to my core, but also feel other people’s emotional states (positive or negative, whatever they are) and energy when I am near them.  This was definitely  a stress and worry for me before moving to NYC, wondering if I could handle it in such a crowded and congested city.  It  can still definitely be a stress, especially on the train, but I have ways of dealing with it, which include changing cars, focusing my attention in another way, or often just accepting it and sucking it up.  Because of my extreme emotional sensitivity to people, while socializing and being with those I love is almost always wonderful and energizing, I also REALLY need alone time and space to recharge.  I have always been this way since a very young child.

 

Now I know it sounds like I’m painting a bleak picture, so here are the HSP “gifts”:  sensory detail, nuances in meaning, emotional awareness, creativity, and greater empathy.  These are also right in line with my personality test type findings, especially INFP.  The BEST resource and short explanation I have found so far on HSP is this link, which is a 20 minute interview with Jim Hallowes here:  http://talentdevelop.com/interviews/JimHallowes.mp3 .  In it he describes the HSP (me!) to such a tea, I could (and did) cry.  In it, some of the possible characteristics he lists of HSPs include the need to organize (including and especially thoughts), creatively gifted, having vivid dreams, the need to *feel* in control (this is a big one for me, even though I am aware that feeling and being are not the same thing), loyal, startle easy, extreme need for universal justice, find water calming, often avoid violent TV shows and movies, and have a deep appreciation for art, music, and nature.  There can also be the tendency for HSPs to seem contradictory in nature by purposely (albeit perhaps unconsciously) overloading on stimulation in order to drown out other intense stimuli (spicy foods, music, sensory stimulation, etc).  These two quotes in the interview are right on the money and really resonate with me personally (and were what brought me to said tears):

 

The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanely sensitive. To them… a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death.
Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create — so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, their very breath is cut off…
They must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency they are not really alive unless they are creating.“–Pearl S. Buck

 

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”–Margaret Mead

 

I don’t think anything could express more perfectly than those two quotes what my Soul cries out and longs for.  This insane sensitivity to the world and everything in it, the need to express it through creation in some way, and to love and give back to my fellow man, that I love so much, by using that creation to better the world  for them in some way(s).

 

Soooo….why did I say at the beginning of this that these finding  brought me hope and freedom?  Because the truth frees.  Nosce te ipsum.  If you thought I was personal before, here it actually is.  My entire life, as much as I love people and this world, I have felt like I was a stranger in it and definitely that I was not understood; that I couldn’t be understood.  Like I was some alien that accidentally ended up here from some other planet. That we all look and sound and seem the same, but we’re actually talking a totally different language.   Of course I don’t mean that in the literal sense, but I’ve always felt very very very different, and the truly kindred spirits that *really* get me have been far and few between.  That doesn’t mean I don’t deeply value all of my friendships and loved ones.  I do more than I can express.  But I am keenly aware of how much more and deeper and harder I feel and take in, sometimes too much to take.  Normally people consciously take in about 7 things to process information;  HSPs take in about 50.  When we are having a conversation, my mind is processing so much meaning to so many things, sometimes it can look like I’m not listening or spaced out when in fact I am deeply focused.    For so long, I thought there has to be something wrong with me.  Or maybe more accurately said, not right.

 

The household I was brought up in, despite my mother also (unknowingly I think) being a HSP and I know, despite how it hurts to look back on it, had (I like to think) good intentions, definitely did not provide a nourishing, healthy, and encouraging environment for the way I think and process and AM.  I WAS (am?) Calvin and Hobbes, always with the imagination running wild and intense, spiritual by nature at a very young age, deeply connected with nature.  If my face wasn’t in a book, I was enacting (often alone) the crazy (awesome!) stories that my mind couldn’t stop creating.  I had to be doing anything creative and tried every chance I got.   Any early attempts followed by failures (writing for my middle school newspaper, trying out for a school play) were crushing because there was zero encouragement to keep going or teaching that failure was part of the necessary process to success.   My parents wanted me to major in business.  They mistook a brain that works in symbols and metaphors for one talented in math and made for business.  And all I can think is God help our kids with standardized testing.    And so when I tried (I mean I really really tried) to go in the direction that was expected of me and, to them, what meant success and would make them proud, the hard fall from that came quickly and harshly, and looking back I actually can’t believe (and am grateful) there were not more devastating results.  My junior year of high school should have been a glaring clue when I, in a panic of an instant, up and ran away one afternoon (literally slept in the woods for 3 days) because my whole being couldn’t stand it for one more crushing second and I just felt so completely helpless and trapped.  On the third day (Mother’s Day to be exact), I finally contacted a friend, who then called my parents, and although I begged my parents for counseling (which was refused because there was “nothing wrong with me”), somehow for a little while things went back to “normal.”  That event stayed with me though, as it was my first taste of freedom and my first glimpse that I actually have some say in my destiny, that I am not totally wrong and things didn’t have to be like this and that some sort of something that looks and feels like freedom IS possible.  The downside was that the deep conditioning had been done, so it took many many years before the next real effective awakening was to to occur.  Which, btw, was my first acting teacher, George Lewis, who not only completely broke open my world in the best way possible, but looking back was also the first to clue me in to my being HSP:  in one of his earlier classes, we were all gathered in chairs in a circle, and he said of Marlon Brando (not verbatim), “the reason that he became so overweight was because he was so incredibly sensitive…his soul couldn’t take it, and so he had to build around himself a physical barrier”…his saying that struck me in the gut and heart so deeply and truthfully as also being true of myself… it took everything I had in that moment to keep it together.  Marlon Brando had this to say about being a highly sensitive person:  ““A sensitive person receives fifty impressions where somebody else may only get seven. Sensitive people are so vulnerable; they’re so easily brutalized and hurt just because they are sensitive. The more sensitive you are, the more certain you are to be brutalized, develop scabs….Analysis helps. It helped me.”

 

Okay.  So now, really (really!) to the point.  As I have been reading and learning and understanding and processing all of this during the past few days, it suddenly has taken on new meaning.  It *really*no longer has to be something I have to fight against or that hinders me or limits me, but that I am SUPPOSED to be this way.  That I am hardwired this way.  And yes, that means some things are more challenging, that deep feeling of emotions can sometimes feel like the curse, but everyone has their own individual challenges and I can also see all of it as also the immense gift (just as everyone has their gifts) that it also really is.  I’ve already known the emotional access is something I am blessed to have for acting.  But now…I don’t know, I feel validated.  I’ve always been told I should be a business major or doctor or use my brain for something that will be “useful and lead to success” (and hello what is SUCCESS and isn’t about time we as a culture redefined THAT???).   And that not doing so in the way of their definition is a complete waste of my potential.  But the truth is, while I might have a certain IQ and do good in math, I am actually BUILT for the arts and for writing and spiritual pursuits and activism and all of the things that call me deep within my soul.  And not following THAT would be the REAL tragedy and waste of my potential.   Something in me has always known this (or really really really wanted to believe it),  and has known it more and more and more in recent years (hello, I am in in NYC now)…but now I feel like there is this real, solid tangible proof.  I just feel like this huge fog has been lifted.  Like I have SELF PERMISSION instead of feeling  inside like I have something to prove to something  or someone “out there” or I have to work harder than everyone else to earn the right to follow what is truly inside me.

 

Anyway, this is really long.  And pretty personal.   Which kind of freaks me out that other people, especially those that I know, are going to read this.   And it possibly seems jumbled and perhaps incoherent in places to others where I haven’t been detailed enough to follow my thought process.  But I had to get it out,  because it just feels like such a RELIEF, and if there is any chance that it sheds even a glimpse of light for even one other person, then it’s completely worth it for me to put it out there and share.   I am still processing all of it.  And will continue to do so as I learn more, but knowledge, especially self knowledge, is power.  I feel very grateful today.

 

I still don’t know what I’m going to do about work after all of this (or even if it will still be an issue), but I feel now like I’m approaching it from a different place.  Oh, the reason that I am not inclined to go back to Sign Language interpreting…besides the obvious shoulder injury, I developed huge problems with neck and back pain and tension when I was doing this work before.  It actually occurred because of how empathetic I am (I knew that this was the reason at the time when I quit, too).  As an interpreter, you’re literally a conduit, and I couldn’t figure out a way to release the often deeply emotional communication that was going through my body.  When I worked in the schools, I also would be witness to oppression (often having to step in and advocate) and it was extremely difficult for me to continue to take in, especially when, with my role, I wasn’t in a position to evoke change.  It is actually a challenge for me as an actor as well, although I have different tools and methods that help, and working and learning the Alexander Technique has been HUGE as far as this is concerned.

 

Lastly, I will leave you with these, which I found when researching all of this on youtube and which I personally find HIGH-larious (mostly because a lot of it is true).

 

 

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It’s actually been  more than a week, but here goes.  I have a lot to write about, or perhaps more accurately said, a lot brewing.  For tonight, though, I will keep this brief as Breaking Bad episodes, season 2 via Netflix are waiting (thank you dear sister for this new ADDICTION).  Normally it would still wait, but it’s Jack’s one day off this week, and while he knows I have self commitments I am wanting to stick to, I also want to capitalize on the time with him.:)

The 30 minutes exercise daily has been getting the least attention, definitely not by choice, as I’ve been pretty sick  this past week+ (and actually was ordered to have bed rest).   In addition to the “calcification” or whatevertheheck is trying to exit my body, I also woke up on Monday with an oh-joy cold/sore throat/sinus infection medley.  Doc says this is actually good as my body is trying to cleanse itself. Well cleanse away body. CLEANSE AWAY.

The daily creative writing has been mostly good….I did miss 2 days this week, but it was due to low energy level and how I was feeling those days health-wise.  Yesterday was one of them, which I also missed doing a blog post (the only day missed so far, however).  The writing I am LOVING and am fascinated by the themes that keep showing up (as well as what keeps showing up in my life to feed these themes): spirituality, religion, honne and tatemae, authenticity and/vs audacity, grace vs nature, ho’oponopono, shame, blocks, cleansing, release, lies, truth, etc.  As my goal was to have this daily writing prepare myself for work on my solo performance work (and beyond), I find these themes to be exciting and I am open and ready for what is to come.

Through my morning pages, meditation, and constructive rest, I am reflecting and opening to how this all relates to me personally as well as my life’s work.  The shoulder still has not healed and I have opened up to the possibility that it actually might not heal enough for me to return to restaurant work.  I’m not as stressed out about this as I was in the beginning, but rather continuing my work (along with my healing) and being open and actively inquisitive as to “ok, then, if not that then what’s next?”

I have stayed 100% vegan:  SUCCESS!  I have cooked up some pretty incredible vegan dishes this week, so keeping Jack happy in the process= double success.  Constructive rest has happened daily without fail, and I am really noticing the difference it is making in my body and my awareness (where I unconsciously have been holding tension, aka “protecting”).   There is a definite shift happening in my back and neck, and so I am completely motivated to keep this up and feeling all around pretty good about that.

Staying off Facebook and websites of the like has been easy (I did go on to  “exit the conversation” of a couple of mass emails (that I’m not able to participate in at this time, as I was constantly getting emails as a result).  While I do not miss the inundating myself with constant information that drowns out my own creative voice and/or using it as a huge mode of procrastination, I DO  greatly miss the connection with my family and friends.  This has become exponentially true with the isolation(even though I’ve still been in touch with many) of being at home so much to due to injury and illness.  There is one friend in particular that I think about daily as she is undergoing treatment for breast cancer, and has been very forthcoming in her moment to moment experience of it all via facebook.  Her status updates (and those of others like her) being trended would be a lot more beneficial to the spreading of true awareness of breast cancer and the likes than silly little hidden messages in status updates that really don’t mean or do jack shit (sorry but it’s true!).  I know that’s harsh, and I have a number of friends actually participating in this facebook status trend (which I know about from the emails until I logged in to drop out), but I feel like if people want to spread awareness, do it in a way that is real and deep and actually has some meaning and the potential to really impact and awaken people to something they don’t already know.  It’s not like breast cancer is some big secret.  We are all perfectly aware it’s there.  But my friend (who is undergoing treatment) and the sharing of her experience…now THAT’S some effective awareness spreading right there.  I’m just sayin’.

Ok, off soap box.  The only thing that truly got neglected this week was the working on my PATH. Oh wait, that is somewhat a lie…..I did buy a new 2012 planner.  I just didn’t do anything with it other than admire its newness and beauty.  So that is something for me to really look at  and think about why and how it can be approached differently.   We’ll see what new news I have to report about it next week.  To finish off, daily meditation and morning pages happened without issue (and I have found myself already lengthening my meditation time), as did my artist date (which is in my last blog post).  I am already aware of a pretty big shift happening in myself;  a slowing down to notice details so much more as I am doing things even mundane tasks, an increased calmness, a new sense of enjoyment of  even the smallest things.  I’m laughing a lot more, too.  This is good and is keeping me motivated and focused toward my daily tasks and I look forward to more and more and more.   As I wrote out today, every writing or meditation or creation of every kind doesn’t have to be golden.  It’s awesome when it is, but it’s obviously not always going to work out that way.  What’s important is the practice itself, showing up, and how you show up(and sometimes just saying “hey, I’m here okay” has to be enough, and that’s okay, too).  The rest will eventually somehow, in Its Own Way, start to work Itself out.

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