Category Archives: reflect

rise and love

rise-and-love-again

breathe

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.

Breathe.

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.  🙂

breathe

hold on


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.
Anyway…
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!

and now…

…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.

take time

taketimefull
found on saying images via pinterest

awake

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.

tiny beautiful things

“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.

things i never needed

Take a long hard look at my face
Take away the things I can’t replace
Take my heart, go on take it away
I’ve got nothing to say

Take away this sense of regret
Take the things I need to forget
Take the mistakes I haven’t made yet
They’re all I have left

I don’t want to be the one who lets you down
All I did was run myself around
I wish I could have seen through your eyes
Maybe then I would have realized
I’m the only one who’s bleeding
For the things I never needed
The things I never needed

Take a good long look at yourself
Take the weight off everyone else
Take the hardest blow that was dealt
It’s all on your shoulders

I don’t want to be the one who lets you down
All I did was run myself around
I wish I could have seen through your eyes
Maybe then I would have realized
I’m the only one who’s bleeding
For the things I never needed
The things I never needed

break the shell

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.

shining on

ImageI’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!

the first time

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

I.

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.

II.

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.

III.

If you’re going to break, shatter.
No explanations.
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—
bend back
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.

IV.

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

awakening

“In a way it feels foolish and selfish to be dissatisfied with my life because I have so much…for which the gratefulness overwhelms.   But in the midst of the wealth of my life, I find that I am craving more.  More connection.  More love.  More sincerity.  More art. More nakedness.  More life.  More growth.  In a way, I am actually desiring less.  My cravings have a simplicity to them.  I want to breathe.  I want to exist in a new place…a place where I am stripped down.  Where I shed manufactured adornment and my heart becomes exposed enough to wake up.  My whole heart.”

I wrote those words  six months ago.  It was my birthday.  And now it is today.  This is me:

me 318

I don’t really know how to map the journey in words from that day I reflected in the mountains to this day.  And if I did share every divine detail, I am not certain that anyone would even believe me.  It has been a beautiful and chaotic whirlwind full of awakenings, serendipitous moments, dreams, real connection, harsh realities and vulnerability.

So anyway, about this portrait.
DSCN0534-001The words are drawn from the things I wrote on my birthday retreat and from what I wrote down during Holiday Council when asked, “How do I want to feel? What am I craving?”  Then, a couple weeks ago, I sat down with some markers and wrote them all down.
Vulnerable is in the center because that word has become like a fire in my heart, dangerous yet able to ignite every other craving.  Why I wrote down that I wanted to feel vulnerable is beyond me.  I didn’t even grasp the fullness of what that meant and I didn’t remember writing it.  But vulnerability decided to come knocking at the door of my heart whether I remembered inviting it or not.  And I let it in.  Ever since, I have been either wrestling with or embracing it.

vportraitThe picture is just me.

I decided to collage these words with an image of myself and immediately knew I wanted the photo to be simple and stripped down.

No makeup.
No hair styles.
No color.

And I decided to only take three pictures.  I didn’t need this to turn into some crazy photo shoot.
The exposure and contrast of the photos was created more by me with the camera than in editing because I wanted it that way.
I also wanted the expression to be simple and without too much of any one specific emotion.
After looking at the three shots, I almost took more because I was slightly uncomfortable with them.
But that was perfect because sharing these imperfect photos and these words and this collage and everything about it makes me feel vulnerable.
And that is what I want.

To be exposed enough to find my real heart.
To breathe in my own skin.
To be awake and authentic and alive.
Sincerely and wholeheartedly.

To draw from the opening pages of Daring Greatly by Brene Brown (read the book, watch the TED talks), which seemed to providentially find its way into my hands in January (which, by the way, I just today discovered that the book came out on my birthday last year and almost had a cow), I want to be in the arena of my own life.  I want to move forward with courage and passion and whether I win or lose wont matter as much as the reality that I fought with my whole heart.

I have to admit that I am right now fighting the urge to completely rewrite this entire post.  I feel like I’m saying too much or too little or not saying it eloquently enough or with enough humor.  And that is why it needs to stay exactly as it is…
If I wait until I am “perfect” to share myself and my heart, I will wait forever.  This is who I am and where I am right now.  And it is beautiful.

girl rising

10x10 Cambodia Writer's Trip


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

shells and sunlight

DSCN0013 (3)-003

exposed
broken pieces tossed where
earth meets foggy sky
reflecting
heavy hearts dwell
as the symphony of waves plays on
tossing
broken pieces of air
breathing light
hope
exposed

unplugging

Updated:
March 1, 2013 through March 2, 2013, I joined a group of people in unplugging for 24 hours.   My computer and cell phone were OFF.  Instead of texting, tweeting and zoning out in front of a screen, I worked on a creative project and connected with what has been going on in my world and with those around me!
DSCN0527

I didn’t think this full day of being unplugged would be that challenging for me and in a lot of ways it wasn’t.  However, it did open my eyes to the amount of time and focus that gets sucked up in my world by things like my phone and computer.  I began to realize that once I am in front of a screen, I tend to lose clarity.  The other thing was that I basically had no idea what time it was all day long.  Like many, I use my cell phone as my clock and I wanted to reach for it dozens of times to find the time.  I didn’t really have a schedule on my unplugged day, so I finally chose to just let the time go and focus on what was in front of me.  That was insanely refreshing and freeing.
So, on a day of being unplugged, I found clarity, connected, created and felt refreshed even though I had no idea what time it was.  The day was good and all the things that happened in the day were good and as a result, I am choosing to unplug once a week.  Yep.  One full day each week to find some focus without the help of the technology we are in relationships with today.  A friend of mine asked me if I really thought this was a good idea.  The alarm in their voice only affirmed the way I already felt…YES, I think this is a fabulous idea.

the heart…

Totally in love with this collage I just created with my photos.  I am going to print this onto canvas without the text and paint my own handwriting on it…one of my favorite quotes ever!
xoxo

the heart...

walls

walls

found on pinterest via design bolts Read the rest of this entry

vulnerability

Early last week (after an interesting handful of days), I typed the word ‘vulnerable’ into the search tool at a local bookstore.  Five minutes later, I had Daring Greatly by Brene Brown  in my hands.  Fifteen minutes later, I was spilling chai all over the book.  (I was already sold, but that sealed it) Two hours later, I was watching her TED talk…

getting it together

Ok, so one month is long enough for my “yes, please winter wonder” (see previous post) retreat.  I spent much of this time writing, walking/skiing/hiking in the crisp air, focusing on defining my priorities, cravings and action steps for this year (thanks Holiday Council), writing, experiencing a lot of serendipitous moments, going on a mostly spontaneous New Years day venture where I came face to face with myself and my demons, listening to my heart and writing.  Did I mention that my journal was open a lot?  One important and wonderful thing that I discovered during this time is that this blog is aligned perfectly with what is important to me right now.  I crave moxie.  And three of my top priorities for the year are health, creativity and balance.  And so I am back in blogland and ready to pursue my passion and to do more, share more and grow more here.
About a week ago, I was staring at an emotionally filled journal page when this song popped up on pandora.  I was dumbfounded.  Many of the words that fill this song were the same as the exact words filling my page.  It feels like this song was made just for me at this very moment of my life.  It will be hard to convince me otherwise as I get it together, heal my heart and learn to fly…

sometimes?

try almost all the time

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