“Like physical effort, thought control is entirely a matter of intelligent practice. You must use your courage or it will desert you. You must use your determination or it will leave you. You must use your power of decision or soon you will find that you have none.”
Think and Grow Rich
Wow, right?! I fully understand that concept for muscles–think astronauts and the extreme care they take to exercise their muscles in space so they don’t atrophy. (side note: if I don’t work out for a week, the next week, when I resume, my heart, lungs, and muscles feel like I haven’t used them in years…ugh!!)
Until I saw that quote, I hadn’t thought about courage, determination, or decisiveness in a “use or lose” kind of way. But we all know, once in a comfort zone, it’s hard to get out. Once you quit on one goal, it’s much easier to quit next time. Once you waffle on a decision, it’s easier to be wishy washy next time. But the good news is the same idea is true in reverse. Once you leap and make one courageous move (even if it’s unsuccessful) it’s easier to be courageous next time. Once you decide get out of bed early to work out, it becomes easier the next time.
So I encourage you (and me) to do things that require courage. Not only things like sky diving and rock climbing, but little things like wearing a non-traditional nail polish color to a conservative work place and bigger things like creating a book series that rejects stereotypes and promotes diversity. (wonder who is trying to do that?)
Also, use your decisive and determined muscles on a daily basis. I know we tend to be all about accommodating everyone and everything, but learn to stick with a decision no matter who opposes it.
Stay inspired and enjoy the journey,
PS couldn’t help the He-man pic. Not sure why:)
(Yes I think the title is too cute, don’t you?) So I’ll keep this one simple. This post is an encouragement to myself and to you all to meditate. Sitting still for a few minutes, like only 2, really does make a difference and there are all sorts of studies to support the hype. From positively changing the structure of the brain, to improved focus and concentration, to decreasing social anxiety, just do it! This does not replace prayer for me, I do that too, but I find that can be a lot of me talking (or complaining) and very little listening. However, when I sit still and listen to my breathing, or just say thank you, I can hear my directions for the day. I have found that it’s not about getting “it all” done, but about choosing the “right” things to do in order to move you closer to your goals. Meditation helps me to avoid busy work or comparison-itis and allows me to stay closer to what I want and need to get done for the day.
Myths about Meditation
Source: Psychology today
Having an empty mind—nope, in fact, when you start meditating, you’ll find it’s quite the opposite
Sitting in lotus position—nope, you can sit on the couch (just don’t lie down, you’ll fall asleep)
Chanting in a language I don’t understand—nope, not unless that floats your boat
Buddhist, Hindu or religious—nope, not unless you make it so
Getting my “sit” together,
This quote from Dr. Angelou represents the way I see life and what I come back to in times of hurt and pain. In light of all of the divisiveness in the country and really the world, lets try to remember we are more alike than we are unalike. Let us start from where we agree, and work to solve the tough problems. We all want the best for our children and families although we may prioritize our preferences differently. Remember love conquers all.
This is for my creatives:
As artists, we must be diligent in protecting our ears and eyes! Pay close attention to what you consume– what you allow to pour into your spirit on a daily basis. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by the never ending news cycle. Following the news cycle and the internet nonsense on an hour to hour and second to second will drain your energy.
This is not about being naïve or oblivious to the things around you, but as a creative person, as a person who wants to uplift and change the world, my heart must be full of love and my mind must be clear in order to create. We don’t have to completely disengage, believe me, I use my negative feelings in my creations, but I make sure to selectively engage in the world (news, people’s issues, pop culture).
I spend a lot of time reading and listening to podcasts from experts and fellow creatives doing what I’d like to do. I would encourage you to do the same. Here’s some of what’s on my nightstand and on my podcast:
In the company of women: inspiration and advice from over 100 makers, artist, and entrepreneurs. Author Grace Bonney
Space Atlas: Mapping the Universe and Beyond (when I get upset, looking at the pictures and understanding the physics behind the universe puts things in perspective.)
The Creative Penn by Joanna Penn. (She’s gotten me to understand creative entrepreneur ship. I call her my English girl and she’s been instrumental in my writing journey)
The 21st-century creative by Mark McGuinness (I feel like this man has cracked open my head– he totally gets me! He articulates the good and the bad of being a creative and his discussion of being productive as a creative is totally what I need to hear)
Ted Radio Hour (good stuff!)
Joel Osteen (loong time listener)
Trying to create more than I consume,
I’ve been getting a lot of advice lately. Let’s just say there are some interesting things going on in my life and lots of folks have lots to say (reminder to self: stop telling lots of folks). I was lamenting the fact that I felt dismissed, judged, and undervalued.
A mentor gave me one piece of (alarming) advice about the work place that stuck with me:
“Although unfair, everyday is an audition”.
I found two definitions of auditioning:
1-An interview at which a singer, actor, dancer, or musician demonstrates their suitability and skill.
2-A trial performance, as by an actor, dancer, or musician, to demonstrate suitability or skill.
I think we all know the first definition, but the first part of the second definition is that caught my eye. Auditions are a trial period where it is OK to be asked to demonstrate your skills. The thing I’d like to highlight is that it’s for a limited time –hence the word trial.
But some folks expect people to prove themselves everyday but that’s tiring! Right? Living everyday as on a trial performance is not healthy. But unfortunately, I had to agree with that sentiment. In some work circles there’s always this “thing” hanging over you about your reputation. Everything you do, say, and work you perform is always “shaping” your “reputation”. To me this means you are always auditioning, always proving.
When I mentioned this everyday auditioning advice to my hubby (he is always my sounding board and gives the best advice) he said I don’t need to buy in to that unhealthy thinking.
He said, let’s oversimplify to make a point: If you are the best cook, dancer, employee, blogger, or athlete ever and someone else shares this perspective, 50% will believe it and 50% won’t. The same is true in reverse, if someone passes along that you a horrible parent, dancer, singer, cook, there is a 50% chance that others will believe it and the other half won’t. Bottom line: there will be a group of people who believe that you are great and others who won’t, no matter what you do.
I think of the heated conversations men have about athletes illustrates this perfectly. You can take one athlete, say LeBron James, and one person who loves him lists stats and hurdles he’s overcome to convince others of LeBron’s greatness. But others, who know those same stats and watch the same games will disagree and call LeBron garbage. They will say he only can do what he does because of those around him (coaches and teammates) and they say he’s no good. Same athlete, same performance, very different perspectives.
So, if you are a person who cares about what folks think or even worse, thinks you can change how people perceive you, you are going through life auditioning–be it for a job or role you already have. You’ll always be trying to prove that you are worth your title.
I’m learning to focus on doing good work regardless of what others think. I will not keep auditioning for a job or a role I already have.
Changing my perspective,
No this is not our table.
No we haven’t really started cooking yet.
No I have not started any sort of Christmas shopping or planning.
Yes, I forgot it was Wednesday and I needed to post.
Yes, I am behind on my National Novel Writing Month words.
Yes, I feel both books I am writing suck at this point.
Yes, I blew my diet a few days early (Just on thanksgiving I told myself)
Yes, I checked work emails and got annoyed.
Sound like anyone’s internal dialogue? (Well not you happy all-the-time optimists, but the rest of us.)
But reality is what I perceive it to be, and I can change it at any moment:
I woke up this morning.
I have enough creativity and courage to write books.
I can revise my first drafts, they are supposed to suck.
I have food to eat.
I have a healthy family surrounding me.
I am warm and safe and loved.
I have a steady income.
Try to take just a few moments to look around and say thanks. These times of year can be challenging for everyone for various reasons. But keep it simple and enjoy the little things, not everyone has the basics this year.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!