Category Archives: inspiration
One of the most awesome things I do every year is devote some focused time to, put simply, reflect on where I’ve been, where I am and where I want to be, both literally and figuratively. I do most of this through both a self-designed personal retreat and a program called the Stratejoy Holiday Council. Once the dust of this reflection settles, one of the many things I emerge with is a theme. It may be a word or a phrase. It may have a whole story that builds up to it or it may have been born out of my time of reflection. It falls into the rhythm of my heartbeat, speaks truth and inspires my goals. For me, the value of my theme for the year (or whatever amount of time it remains) is grand.
All that said, I wanted to share my theme for the present time.
I could write much more to draw out the beauty of how this theme developed and what it means to me, but, instead, I will share the visual representation and encourage this process of listening to your own voice, creating a collage of cravings and moving with more strength and love through YOUR journey. 🙂
I came to discover this song and the band while in college in Colorado. Sadly, Newcomers Home disbanded almost ten years ago, so this expression of Hold On is what I cling to. However, I have had the opportunity to see the lead singer, Katie Herzig, in concert several times and love following her solo career as well. In fact, at one of her concerts a couple years ago I had the chance to speak with her and tell her how much I love this song. She told me how much she used to love performing it, which made my heart so happy.
Oh, this song. I don’t know how to speak about it in a way that justifies the power and beauty it possesses. It reaches into the depths of my soul and breathes it out. It exposes the complexity of the fear and hope and love that I feel. It makes me feel calm and passionate at the same time. It is meant to be a part of my world and has surfaced once again as an important part to the start of my year. I LOVE this song. And that is why I want to share it.
Happy New Year!
…to explain my absence…
I made a conscious decision to take a break from blogging. It was well into the holiday season and I had an awesome new job and some fabulous new projects going. Opportunities were abundant. I was feeling overwhelmed by time and did not want my blog to be something that drained me. I always desire for writing/blogging/creating to be something that challenges and inspires, so giving myself a little breathing room to shift focus was intentional.
Stepping away for eight months, however, was never the plan and feels a bit shocking in the present.
I got lost in the new things, which in and of themselves were not at all bad, but before I knew it, I was just sucked up into day to day life survival and my own pulse was feeling faint.
Don’t get me wrong. There have been many awesome things that have happened over the last year. My world has included an incredible and successful new business with a company I love, people that I can’t even fathom not knowing, a fabulous creative space, good hard work, plenty of wine, laughter, positive changes, moments of rejuvenation and lots of inspiration. The problem is that I feel weary and have never craved health, creativity and balance more.
Image found on GabbieBrownsblog via pinterest
And, so, now it is time to return. It is time to bring some focus back toward the things that help my heart to beat strong. It is time to find a way to embrace moxie again. Now it is time to maintain all of the fabulous new things, but to also do what I need to do .
If I have any point in this whole post, it is that I am finally starting to accept the possibility that by making my own heartbeat my focus, all of the other things that extend will carry more life.
This is huge.
And guess what? I can’t even prove that it is true yet, but I look forward to sharing as I journey on.
I was introduced to the beautiful words of Mark Nepo earlier this year and was quite taken with them. These were, at that time and again today when I stumbled upon them, both relevant and alluring…
A Thousand Pools
by Mark Nepo
I am awake. It wasn’t always so.
It may not last for long. So let me
say this while my heart is beating like
a river. This life is more than one can
bear. It’s taken years to learn this, to
feel this, to know this in my bones.
I am not talking about giving up or
persevering. I mean we’re not designed
to bear it in the first place. Anymore
than the sun bears the sky or the wind
bears the thousands of leaves it moves
through. I am awake. This time I stum-
bled to it. I was productive. Some said
on fire. Then I tripped on something
ordinary. Like a pebble in your shoe.
And I fell out of the dance I had
created. The one by which I knew
my worth. I couldn’t get it back. It
depressed me for months. But like a
whale I kept diving down and coming
up. Despite the parting of my dream.
Now I’m awake as I never imagined.
This doesn’t preclude pain or weather
or disappointment. These as well as joy
land in some lake I have carried since
birth. It stills whatever enters without
silencing our heart. Like an endless
pool that clears after a violent rain,
you can see through me. Come.
Look. I am awake.
Recently, I saw this video and was totally inspired. It is a musical flashmob that took place as part of a celebration in Sabadell, Spain.
Last night, I watched Brandi Carlile perform with the Oregon Symphony and was also totally inspired. During the performance last night, I was wishing that everyone I knew could be there for the experience and was also reminded and moved to share this video.
Music has so much power to inspire. In fact, it is indescribable, which is why there really isn’t much else I can say here.
“You will learn a lot about yourself if you stretch in the direction of goodness, of bigness, of kindness, of forgiveness, of emotional bravery. Be a warrior for love.”
―Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar
I have not read Wild (yet). I have a note in my journal from January that says, “read Wild“. There is even a copy sitting in the house. I will read it. But the first book I ever read by Cheryl Strayed will always be tiny beautiful things.
On the surface, this book is simply a collection of advice column letters and answers. But, if your heart is open, it is so much more than that.
This is the sort of stuff that makes my heart want. It is people. It is stories. It is real. It is all three combined. And then those real people are brave enough to reach out by writing in to an advice column. In return, this beautiful writer, then known only as “Sugar”, reaches back with such raw emotion, both delicate and passionate, woven into words that address real life in a way that made me want to laugh and scream and cry all at once.
Read it if you are a human that lives in the real world and wants to embrace real life.
It is a rainy and rare lazy Saturday afternoon and pinterest has me rather inspired by some cozy ideas that seem to match my mood. Since I am in a bloggy mood as well, here are a few of my favorite new pins from today…
1. Coffee Aroma Candles
Seriously, how simple and fabulous is this?
Candle holder + coffee beans + tea light = house smells like a coffee shop.
2. Dresser Bench
I am super inspired by this. It would be a fun project and would make such a great item for an entry, bedroom or guest room!
3. Pumpkin Bread Pudding
I read these seven words in the description of this and was sold:
cinnamon, ginger, pumpkin, spiced, bourbon soaked raisins
Can’t wait to try it!
4. Cozy Knit Scarf
I want to put this on right now. I love the mood of it. I love the color. I love the style.
Also, I have had this theory that I am going to break out the knitting supplies and this might be the inspiration that causes me to actually follow through!
For the second time this year, India Arie has made an appearance in the “pretty much the most pertinent song that could possibly exist right now for me” section of my life.
I’m back! I have been through a whirlwind of self-reflection over the last couple months and needed some time to focus on, well, myself. Thank you to everyone who has been commenting, tweeting and emailing to encourage me to keep up with the moxie! It means so much to me. I can’t imagine a more perfect way to reemerge into my online world than with a quote from my friend Molly at stratejoy.
Let your brilliance shine!
Yesterday, I stumbled into a poem
New to me that I love. Love.
Hours pass and I then discover that April is the month.
How fitting, I thought.
This will be the first time I celebrate national poetry month.
With in my heart and on the page
so many words
The poem I read:
THE FIRST TIME
by Mindy Nettifee
The first time your heart was torn from your chest,
You thought you were dying.
You knew you could not live with the empty space.
So you replaced your heart with metaphors
And set out to create a world where the metaphor was unbreakable.
Now look what you’ve done—
You can’t breathe so you write.
You can’t hurt so you drink rum and pour our pirate chanties.
You can’t want revenge so you leave.
When I see you I have two thoughts:
You are the reason The Smith’s wrote songs,
And my god, you are beautiful.
You are so beautiful
Blinking stars go blind.
But I can see this is going to get ugly.
The metaphors don’t make you feel whole anymore.
You sell out your deepest insecurities for a handful of laughs.
This life has you wound so tight you make grandfather clocks look relaxed.
You hold your body like banks hold money—all locked up.
Your shoulders are glass rocks waiting for the next attack.
But you’ve got it all wrong.
You don’t survive history.
History survives you.
There is no breakthrough without breakdown.
If you’re going to break, shatter.
No limp-legged dog excuses.
No messing with this bullet proof vest fury
So popular with the cops and the presidents.
You’ve got to break like Texas.
You’ve got to take the pain from the safety valve of your heart
And return it to your fists.
Fight your better judgment ‘till you’re sinister again,
‘till your body remembers what it already knows how to do—
and manifest grief.
Scream torches ‘till you embarrass the enlightened.
Please. No more polite conversations with your death wish.
Give it something useful to do.
Change your life.
Cause I can’t stand to see you like this.
So blue, my eyes turn green in your presence.
Listen—you are so beautiful,
Grass pushes through sidewalk cracks just to kiss your feet.
Maybe no one ever told you,
But the heart IS a metaphor.
Yours is growing so strong
You’ll have your rhythm back any day now—
Loving like rumours spread.
Dreaming like lunatic spacemen jump from their suits.
Living like you never forgot how.
30 ways to celebrate national poetry month
Sometimes, when I probably should be sleeping, incredible things are discovered.
I was distracting myself from my own mind and from sleep when I saw this girl on The Voice. She sang “One of Us” and I loved it. So, naturally, I took to YouTube to hear more.
And that would be when I found this.
My experience listening to this was:
0:00-0:07 Love this song. Loved what I heard of her voice before. Excited…please be awesome…
0:08-2:00 Wow. Is it really possible that someone else could sing this so beautifully?
2:00-3:30 Stunning. So legit.
3:31-4:08 Holy wha…?! Goosebumps.
4:08 There it is
5:30 No..please don’t end.
Sarah Simmons, people. I imagine we may hear more from her.
Suma from Nepal
Ruksana from India
Azmera from Ethiopia
Sokha from Cambodia
Wadley from Haiti
Yasmin from Egypt
Senna from Peru
Mariama from Sierra Leone
Amina from Afghanistan.
I watched the trailer at least 25 times. And then, I went to see the film so that I could hear and see more of their stories.
The statistics and lives shared on the screen were both troubling and inspiring. These girls faced (and still do in some cases) everything from slavery, loss and abandonment to rape, abuse and arranged marriages, but the spirit that rises from these depths illuminates a hope for positive change. And education fosters that spirit. Though their lives and stories are diverse, they are bound together by the injustices they face and by the reality that educating these girls is changing and will continue to change their lives, their communities and the world.
I could say so much more about the film and the way different writers with connections to the countries took on different stories. Or how beautiful the cinematography was. Or drop the names of the well known who came on board to narrate. I think, though, that my most important response is to ask myself how I can help fight ignorance and fuel positive change. Yes, the film was disturbing and inspiring. Now what? What can I do?
Well, for starters, I can share my thoughts and encourage others to see this film or support this cause. So here I am. To find out more about 10×10 or Girl Rising, how to get involved or where to see the film, visit their websites. Also, check out a preview of the film below:
Another step I have taken is to give financially to this cause, which helps girls education initiatives throughout the world.
In addition to financial support, I was challenged by others and within myself to find ways to support this cause on a local level. Within my own day to day world, I have the opportunity to educate and because of this movement, I will be more proactive about pursuing that. I have also discovered a couple local programs that align with empowering girls and women through education and am getting involved with at least one of them (more details on this as it develops).
I want to share two other organizations that I have been a part of in some way already that align well with supporting girls education and happen to help two of the countries focused on in the film, Peruvian Hearts and The Anyway Foundation.
My passion lies in creating positive change in this world on an individual, local and global level. For me, it anchors in the arts and I want to use my creative voice to fuel this change and give others the opportunity to do the same. This film has inspired me to continue to pursue my passion.
There is a quote from the film that I want to end with here, but I cannot track it down or remember it in detail, but I will find it soon and it will be here. 🙂
photo from the 10×10 media resources page
originally found on pinterest (the pin wont link anywhere, so that’s all I can reference…)
I have been on a blog hiatus. On purpose. Kind of. Life got busy and I needed some room away from all the screens to breathe. While I was away, I found some fresh air, but I lost the motivation that comes from the discipline of making my thoughts, photos, musings, projects and inspirations public in blogland. Not only does it motivate me, but I genuinely love the creative outlet of blogging.
And so I am back. Doing something I love. Looking for motivation to do more of what I love. And to let this love infiltrate all that I do.
What do you love? What would you love to do?
I recently created a piece of art using materials I found outdoors and a few things I had lying around. It was both created with and inspired by brokenness. To find out more about the inspiration and the process, visit the post on blartog.