Rekindling, lighting a fire. Bringing passion back into our lives.

Bringing passion back into our lives. Rekindling, lighting a fire.

The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in. Morrie Schwartz

Is there something in our life we’d like to rekindle? Are we beginning a new stage of life we didn’t really want? This can be anything. Most of us aren’t excited as we have the “big” birthdays. The “big” anniversaries are the same. How do we keep the fire in a twenty-five, thirty-five, or fifty-year-old marriage? What do we mean by fire?

That is the question, isn’t it? Now, I don’t mean rekindling an old flame while you still live with your current partner. I mean rekindling with your current partner.

We had dreams, even hazy ones which we have not fulfilled. Our partner had dreams too. At some point some of those dreams intersect and where they intersect is where we can start. Did we have dreams of performing? It has never been so easy to put our self out there as a speaker, writer, performer, comedian, or artist.

We turn on the TV and we see couples buying old houses and renovating them. It can all start with wouldn’t it be fun, interesting if we… Maybe travel is our thing, the two of us have places we’ve always wanted to see, planning a trip is fun, we have to discuss what we want to do and see.

Maybe we have an artistic bent. Recently someone asked if I sell my art. I asked my husband to be my agent if anything comes of it. It will make it a shared project and he’s a better negotiator than I am. We can use each other’s strengths to create a win, win opportunity. We can take solitary activities and make them shared activities in some way.

Maybe you are no longer in a relationship, maybe it’s time to find a new relationship. Is it time to look around? Maybe look up an old flame? Adventure is out there.

Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time. Maya Angelou

It all starts with what if? What if we take the chance to let our partner know what we want? We may find they want the same thing, but no one says anything, and no one does anything, and nothing happens. We worry, what if he or she doesn’t want what we want. Then we know and then we can deal with it. Chances are if we want more passion and purpose in our life our partner does too. If we want more closeness, fun, someone has to make the first move. We also need to recognize the move when it is made.

One of the big reasons relationships fail is we don’t acknowledge our partners bid for affection. What bids we might ask. There lies the problem. “Do you want to come to Home Depot with me?” is a bid for affection. “Do you want to watch a movie later?” is a bid for affection.

People make bids for connection all the time, in all different relationships. Those relationships with our children, friends, and partners only grow when we acknowledge those bids. We need to turn towards the people in our life, instead of away.

Our partner may come up with what seems like unrealistic proposals, they may be, but maybe they are something to start a conversation, an exploration of things we can do together. We can cut them off, or we can accept the invitation. When we accept the invitation we don’t know where it will lead, even if it leads nowhere but more connection it’s worth it.

When we see couples shopping together, that’s shared time. It doesn’t take two people to shop for groceries, but while in the store we might discuss our preferences for dinner. We might see something we’ve never tried before, an adventure begins. A conversation with someone at the checkout might spark more conversation.

We can accept the invitation to go for a walk. We can propose a walk. Wherever we are, there we are, but we have choices, opportunity and it is what we make of our opportunities that determine our life.

Do we recognize bids for attention? Do we make our bids big enough so our partner knows we made one?

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. Mignon McLaughlin

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Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love Hardcover – Feb 5 2019

4.5 out of 5 stars   19 reviews from Amazon.com |

 

 

 

 

Stewardship of the Earth. What are we leaving our children?

What are we leaving our children? Stewardship of the earth.

Climate change is not the concern of just one or two nations. It is an issue that affects the whole of humanity and every living being on the earth. Dalai Lama

Last night we watched Madame Secretary and it haunted me all night. A small island was erased from the earth because the coral bed it was built on could not withstand two typhoons. Climate change, what do we do about it? Everyone wants someone to do something about it, but what do we ourselves want and need to do?

When I joined Toastmasters in 1986 one of the speeches was on overpopulation, the world population in December 1986 was 4.93 billion. 1968 looks like it was the peak growth percentage but we only had 3.5 billion growing. We were also moving from rural populations to urban, rural populations have more children, but urban populations use more resources. There’s a catch twenty-two.

Faith and reason must come together enabling us to make positive choices in our lifestyles, in how our economies are run, and in building a true global solidarity necessary to avert this climate crisis. Pope Francis

It is unpopular to point our finger at population growth as our main problem. We don’t want to stop the growth of our countries, cities, companies. We don’t want to stop consuming, nor do companies or governments want us to. How do we continue as we are and stop or slow climate change and create a sustainable world? The only thing we understand is more, more, more.

The United States has the largest population in the developed world and is the only developed nation experiencing significant population growth. Predictions are its population could double by the end of the century. We think we have a problem now?

We can’t talk about population growth without isms rearing their ugly head. One of the most effective population control methods appears to be educating girls. When women are given the resources and the choice they opt for smaller families.

The answer to our predicament may not be in pointing fingers but in education and empowerment of women throughout the world. Are we doing enough? Maybe we can focus on something that benefits all of us, and instead of pointing fingers we can offer a helping hand?

What we may need to talk about is who is creating the problem. It isn’t the poor. This is what strikes us in the West at our heart. When we get to income inequality the ball comes back to our court, exactly where we don’t want it.

The world today is very fragile and it’s our duty to do everything to unite people and nations to remind them that we don’t have a planet B. Viacheslav Fetisov, UN Environment Patron for Polar Regions

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This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate Hardcover – Sep 16 2014


Pro-activity beats reactivity. Not everything can be fixed. We need to know when to hold and when to fold.

We need to know when to hold and when to fold. Not everything can be fixed. Pro-activity beats reactivity.

Don’t approach life’s challenges by being “reactive” be “proactive.” Prepare for the possibilities before they arrive. Unknown

Today is the Sunday before I go visit Mom. I’ll be away for ten days and I’m putting up posts to be published the days I am away. My son asked me yesterday how many I had written. I said none.  He said, “Pro-activity beats reactivity.”

How many of us spend our lives reacting instead of being proactive? Often we don’t even know what proactive looked like until we have something we are reacting to. I’m renting a car while I’m visiting Mom, is it proactive to pay for the extra insurance so I don’t have to react if they say there is a larger than golf ball ding on the car?

Can we start looking for a job while we still have one when the news of layoffs hit? We can wait and maybe we will be safe, this time. Can we find a new job, retrain for something we aren’t likely to be laid off from, something we’ve always wanted to do, or start our own business. We can start a side hustle so we are not so dependent on our main income.

Can we exercise and eat well so we don’t have to react to bad health caused by poor diet and lack of exercise?

Our families need our time and attention so we don’t wake up one day and our relationships have fizzled, because something else was more important, or maybe it was just urgent. We have to be careful with letting the urgent but unimportant take up the time the important but not urgent requires.

We need to make time for friends even when there isn’t a lot of time for them, so when there is time, we still have friends.

Between stimulus and response, there’s a space, in that space lies our power to choose our response, in our response lies our growth and our freedom. Viktor Frankl

Life is a balancing act, the more balance we have the more stable our life is.

Last night my husband and I watched An Interview with God on Netflix a movie about a journalist who is interviewing God. It is thought-provoking leaving more questions than answers, but it answers two questions. Is there anything we can do God cannot forgive? No. Can everything in life be used for good? Yes. It also tells us we have more power than we think, and sometimes the miracle needed is us.

The big message is there are not always signs when people are in the depths of despair. The people themselves may not even realize how close they are to the edge until they look down the top of a building and think, “Why don’t I just jump?”

I’ve had people tell me they had those thoughts, and said to themselves, “What am I doing?” They went home and changed the situation that made them feel like ending it all.

That is being pro-active after they realize how reactive they are. When they got the wake-up call they acted. They turned their life around and started going in a new direction.

If we only react to what life throws at us, we might need to take a look and see if there weren’t signs we didn’t see or didn’t want to see. I was listening to a podcast the other day and the narrator was saying he was visiting someone whose dog was moaning. “What’s wrong with your dog?”

“He’s lying on a nail, but it doesn’t hurt enough for him to move.”

That is how we don’t want to be. When we know we have something to deal with, we shouldn’t wait until it gets to be a disaster before we change things. We need to find a way to be pro-active.

A flood has occurred not far from here because of ice jamming. They’ve been watching it, thinking there could be a problem but nothing was done. When the problem occurred it was fast and furious, now many families are out of their homes because of flooding. Could some pro-active measure been taken?

None of us will live a life where we are pro-active in every situation. We won’t even know how often we were because disaster prevented doesn’t strike.

If we have situations in our life that are like the dog and the nail we need to take a good look at them. Can something be done to make them better? Do we have to live with an uncomfortable reality? Not everything can be fixed, we need to learn and discern when to hold, and when to fold.

 There are three types of people. People who make things happen. People who watch things happen. People who wonder what happened. Unknown

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Seven Habits of Highly Effective People/Cassettes Audio Cassette – Jun 1991

Help others by listening. We heal our relationships through listening.

We heal our relationships through listening. Help others by listening.

It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself. Ralph Waldo Emerson

When we do something for someone else we make a deposit in the bank of life. Good deeds are remembered and come back to us.

One of the members of the Writer’s Group says he learns more from teaching English to his students than he did taking it in class. Teaching is one of the best ways to learn.

Being a mentor to someone is one of the ways we grow and develop as we help them grow and develop.

Encouragement is one of the ways we can help people. It doesn’t take much to offer an encouraging word or a hug. We can show enthusiasm for something they want to do. Can we help them see alternatives when something isn’t working out? Can we help them see the humor? We can encourage them to keep going when it seems progress is slow. We can be respectful of them, their efforts, their goals, their plans, and their dreams.

When we give feedback about things that need to improve we can sandwich it between things they do well, one negative for two positives.

When we listen to people we can be selfish listeners, unselfish listeners or judgmental listeners. We may have to ask our self some questions as we evaluate what type of listener we are. Do we resist the temptation to judge or bring our own world into the situation? To be effective unselfish listeners we must stay on the topic and theme the speaker introduced. We need to try and view the world through their eyes, see things as they are seeing them.

If we can understand what the person is saying and feeling without bringing our thoughts and feelings into the conversation we affirm them, we support them. If we start recounting how we had a bigger success or a bigger problem than the one they are recounting we make it about our self. We are being a selfish listener. If they feel judged they will regret confiding in us.

I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn. I must do it by listening. Larry King

We need to create an atmosphere where people feel safe discussing their concerns. When we are present and actively listening to them they feel they are welcome to share with us instead of being made to feel they are intruding on our time.

We need to use an ideal amount of eye contact when listening. What is the ideal amount of eye contact? Too little or no eye contact conveys disinterest or noninvolvement. Constant staring may be threatening and produce defensiveness in the other person. The ideal amount is a comfortable amount of eye contact but with few breaks. Through eye contact, we convey our sympathy, empathy, and understanding. If we interrupt someone they may lose their train of thought.

It is a big compliment to be told we are a good listener. To live a happy life we have to have healthy and happy relationships. Good communication skills are crucial to building healthy and happy relationships. Good communication skills entail both being able to talk effectively and listen effectively. Listening may be the most important skill. We are told we have two ears and one mouth because we should listen more than we talk.

We know we can avoid many problems in life by communicating better. When we give someone our full attention and listen to what they are saying, we are communicating respect. When we are good listeners we are more likable. Listening creates goodwill.

Relationships get through storms not by talking, but by listening. The other person needs to feel heard. When they feel heard they feel understood. If they feel we really get their concerns healing can begin. Conflict arises when we are only listening to insert our next point into the conversation, instead of listening to understand what the other person thinks, feels or needs.

When we listen we should face the person speaking to us and maintain eye contact. We should be attentive and relaxed. We should listen with an open mind. Can we resist the urge to interrupt, even if something is not clear we should wait for the person to pause before asking a clarifying question? Any problem we have can be helped by listening, bad communication makes things worse, and good listening makes things better.

Are there relationships in our life that can be improved through better communication? Can we try to become a better listener?

When you talk you are only repeating what you know; but when you listen, you may learn something new. Dalai Lama

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The encouragement book: Becoming a positive person (A Spectrum book) Paperback – 1980


Words matter, be kind. Can we be kind, respectful, honest, grateful and forgiving?

Can we be kind, respectful, honest, grateful and forgiving? Words matter, be kind.

In a world where you can be anything, be kind. Unknown

Last night was another Toastmaster’s night that didn’t disappoint. Everyone has their own speaking style, joke style, toasting style, and their way of doing thought of the day.

Some people are good at putting together the thought of the day encompassing the theme, speeches and everything else into a well thought out, off the cuff thought that resonates with everyone. Most of us envy the people who can do that.

We think we can’t come up with something at the last minute but usually, we can. Last night I was asked at the last minute to give a joke. Not my strong suit but a joke from My Big Fat Greek Wedding popped in my mind.

The mother of the bride said her husband was the head of the family but she was the neck, and the neck can make the head do whatever it wants.

The speeches were about impromptu speaking, depression, distracted driving, mentoring, and the importance of our words and being kind. It was a tutorial on living a good life, given by different speakers with humor and insight.

Our words matter and being kind is the speech that spoke to me the most. The speaker reflected on the lessons her mother imparted to her. Her mother told her to be careful of the last words said to someone as they leave her home; you never know if those are the last words you will speak to them.

Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind. Eric Hoffer

We hear about it every day how the last words were in anger, hurtful, hurled in the heat of the moment, never to be taken back. It is good advice but hard to live all the time. I’ve left the house angry and slammed the door to make the point.

Is there a kind way to say some of the things that need to be said? Or is there only a kinder way? It is inevitable that if we talk about the things that need to be talked about and deal with the things we need to deal with it will not be all sunshine and light. We should be able to talk without getting angry. We should be able to hear complaints and criticisms without getting defensive.

Unfortunately, we are only human; our reaction to something can be so immediate, so volcanic we are taken by surprise ourselves. We can’t take back our words, once they are said they may reverberate in someone’s mind the rest of their life. They may color everything they do.

We may not even agree we said what they think we said. We may wonder how they could interpret what they have from what we think we said, or what we think we might have said. Often we can’t remember exactly what we said. Being slow to speak is a good characteristic to have. Thinking long and hard on how to answer, maybe deferring our response until we can mull it over and come up with something coherent and less hurtful.

Too often we wish we’d reacted better, instead of actually reacting better. We can learn to be honest, warm, forgiving, mindful, humble, patient, generous, respectful, flexible and kind. We can be grateful even for the off the cuff remarks we didn’t want to hear, that may have a kernel of truth. Most of all we can be grateful we have someone in our life. As long as they are still in our life we can change, improve, and heal our relationship.

We may have to forgive our self for words we’ve said in anger; we may have to forgive someone for words they’ve said in anger to us. If we can forgive, we can let go of the hold those words have over us. If we can move forward in kindness, gratitude and honesty maybe we can heal the breach.

Even if we cannot heal the breach, forgiveness and gratitude will free us to go forward instead of being mired in the past. Is the gift of forgiveness the gift we give ourselves? Words matter, be kind.

Being kind, considerate, generous, warm, enthusiastic, encouraging, positive, and polite is always a choice. Unknown

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The Power of Kindness: Why Empathy Is Essential in Everyday Life Hardcover – Apr 24 2018


Do we tell a redemptive or a negative story? Will our story make us better or bitter?

Will our story make us better or bitter? Do we tell a redemptive or a negative story?

When we focus on gratitude, the tide of disappointment goes out and the tide of love rushes in. Kristin Armstrong.

We create our own narrative, history, and story we tell our self and others. How we tell it can shape our lives to have more meaning and purpose.

We choose what we include in our story, mostly the highest highs, and lowest lows. We may include something in our story that someone else would leave out because it has no significance to them. It may be a positive thing in our story but would be negative to someone else, or it may have helped us grow and created the wound that will not heal in someone else.

A Northwestern University psychologist Dan McAdams is an expert on what he calls “narrative identity. This is the internalized story we create for ourselves. It is our own personal myth. When we want people to understand us we share parts of our story, when we want to understand other people we ask them about parts of their story.

McAdams asks research subjects to divide their lives into chapters and to recount a high point, low point, and turning point. He also encourages participants to examine their values and beliefs. Lastly, he asks them to determine the central theme of their story and to interpret their story’s central theme. It is the interpretation of, not the actual events that are important.

He has discovered how we interpret our lives and our experiences have a huge impact on our lives. The people who are driven to contribute to society and future generations in big ways are more likely to tell redemptive stories about their lives. They see the good in the hard times they went through. People who tell redemptive stories rate their lives as being more meaningful than those who don’t tell or tell fewer redemptive stories.

A psychotherapist’s job is to help people tell their story in a more positive way. It isn’t only what happens to us, but how we interpret what happens to us that shapes our life. We can’t control the events that shape our lives; they are usually outside of ourselves. Where we grew up, the economy, the culture, and opportunities shaped our lives.

Gratitude, like faith, is a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it grows, and the more power you have to use it on your behalf. If you do not practice gratefulness, its benefaction will go unnoticed, and your capacity to draw on its gifts will be diminished. To be grateful is to find blessings in everything. This is the most powerful attitude to adopt, for there are blessings in everything. Alan Cohen

What is in our control is how we react to what happens in our life. Why do we call the people who grew up in the depression and fought in the second World War the “greatest generation”? They lived through momentous change, they had an incredible work ethic, they were frugal, and they understood sacrifice and honor.

Living through any time in history everyone has to make sense of their own story. No matter when and how we grow up we have to make sense of the circumstances that shape our lives. If we look through the lenses of redemption or contamination we change our reaction to our story. When we can realize we can glean some meaning from the hardships in our life we start to appreciate our life and our lessons. These lessons we might not have been able to learn any other way.

Finding meaning in the hard parts of our life doesn’t mean we wouldn’t change things if we could, but we can’t, all we can do is grow through adversity and pain. We don’t need to be grateful for the horrible things that happen to be grateful for the lessons learned. It is the hardest experiences that teach us the most powerful and transformative lessons.

As I write this I am thinking of someone whose daughter died too soon, with a young baby and a new husband. Her mother has written a book about getting through her and her husband’s hardest days.

Are we better, or bitter because of our story?

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. Melody Beattie

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Mourning Has Broken: Love, Loss and Reclaiming Joy Hardcover – Feb 26 2019


 

What do we want to accomplish in ten years? What dreams and goals can we bring to fruition?

What dreams and goals can we bring to fruition? What do we want to accomplish in ten years?

It’s better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one, than to have an opportunity and not be prepared. Unknown

We all know how our story on this earth ends. Can this be one of our happiest, most creative, harmonious decades that lay before us?

What would it take to heal the breaches, heal the hurts, wounds, and make this the most loving decade of our lives? Is this the decade we discover our creative voice? Is this the decade we make our biggest contributions to the world? Is this the decade we encourage, help, mentor, or volunteer?

Is this the decade we get our finances in order and live in peace and plenty? Is this the decade we get our health concerns addressed, change our way of eating, get more exercise, and change our attitude to gratitude?

Is this the decade our family grows, we become parents, grandparents, or great grandparents? Is this the decade we meet one of the great loves of our life? We often use this expression for romantic relationships but I think we have more great loves in our life than just romantic relationships.

Some of our great loves haven’t been human. If you’ve never had a dog, horse or other pet, you’ve missed out; maybe this is your decade to experience something new.

The world with all there is to see beckons. I met my cousin and her husband last year at Niagara Falls, one of the places she had on her list to see and experience. Is this a decade of globetrotting?

Is this the decade you finally get to read the books you’ve always wanted to read? Do you long to ponder the big questions? Is this the decade to paint, quilt, write, sing, play a musical instrument, become a comedian, put your big idea out into the world, start a company, take up public speaking, dance, learn, or make something new?

If we have no enemy inside us, the enemy outside us can do us no harm. African Proverb

Ten years will fly by as fast or faster than the last ten. What will we do with it? When we look back in ten years will we say wow, we fit a lot in, or will we be thinking of what we wished we would have, could have, or should have done?

What do we want to achieve?

Do we want to be the best person we can be?

The best wife or husband we can be?

The best mother, father, grandmother, or grandfather we can be?

Do we want to encourage as many people as we can?

Is it our goal to be the change we want to see in the world?

Can we make a difference?

What do we have the world needs more of?

Who can we help, encourage, support, and mentor?

What kind of legacy do we want to leave?

What do we want to be said about us when we are no longer here?

What do we want to accomplish in ten years?

Use our energy to get on with life. Our past achievements don’t reflect our future potential. Unknown

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Goals: Setting and Achieving Them on Schedule Audible Audiobook


 

Telling your story. It’s in you to tell, people need to hear it, and you need to tell it.

Telling your story. You need to tell it and people need to hear it.

The truth is, we all face hardships of some kind, and you never know the struggles a person is going through. Behind every smile, there’s a story of a personal struggle. Adrienne C. Moore

Life is what we make it. Last night as I got in my truck after going to the gym I heard the radio personality say, “The doctor told me I had cancer yesterday.” It turns out he was reading from his writings on having cancer.”

He was angry when he learned he had cancer, but he realized quickly what would all that anger do? His challenge was to eliminate anger and negativity, that was five years ago. Today he has a clean bill of health.

I’m looking at an article written by Bonnie Annis Finding Gratitude and Other Lessons Learned from Cancer. She says cancer teaches lessons we never dreamed we needed to learn.

Gratitude seems to be one of the big lessons that survivors learn. They learn to be grateful it wasn’t worse. It’s a lesson we can all learn, whatever if we survive it, could have been worse.

Bonnie Annis says she learned she had a choice about how to live each day. She could choose gratitude and joy or she could choose anger and bitterness. She could go forward or she could give up. It is the hardest, most challenging and difficult thing she experienced in her life.

She says with all its ugliness there are lessons to learn, lessons we might learn no other way.

I am grateful for the willingness of people to bare their soul when they go through the worst life has to offer them. They learn lessons and in telling their story we learn lessons.

Nobody is a villain in their own story. We’re all the heroes of our own stories. George R.R. Martin

Everyone has a story, everyone has learned lessons. The more we talk, write and listen to other peoples stories the more we learn. We are told that telling our story has a physical effect on our body, toxic stress hormones are turned off, our body’s repair mechanisms are turned on.

My husband says to me sometimes. What do you find to talk about? He means when I attend the book club, the book takes up fifteen minutes and we talk until the coffee shop or restaurant closes. We are telling each other our stories. We are making sense of the hand we’ve been dealt, the choices we have. In good times and bad we support each other. We can celebrate achievements, and talk about what has brought us to our knees.

Not everyone who has joined our group is comfortable with it. That is okay, I do think everyone would be better off telling their story, but it’s a personal decision. When we listen to other peoples stories we are tempted to tell our own. Each person must find their own comfort level.

The more we keep bottled up inside the harder it can be to learn the lessons and heal. We may not always be comfortable hearing someone’s story, the anger, vitriol, and condemnation springing forth may feel like blame, condemnation, and judgment. If we can listen, they can get it out and maybe they’ll be able to process it and move onto a better place.

We’ve hurt people in our lives we didn’t mean to hurt. We’ve been hurt in our lives by people who didn’t mean to hurt us. When people can tell their story without judgment, they can heal. If we can tell our story without judgment we can heal.

The stories in our families where we are hurt the most, where we are judged the most maybe some of the most important and hardest stories to tell. We can’t believe what we hear, but if we will hear it, healing can begin.

The stories we tell about ourselves are the key to our wellbeing. Joseph Campbell tells us, “Where you stumble is where your treasure lies.”

We all have a story to tell. Are you telling yours?

You don’t just have a story – you’re a story in the making, and you never know what the next chapter’s going to be. That’s what makes it exciting. Dan Millman

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The Story You Need to Tell: Writing to Heal from Trauma, Illness, or Loss Paperback – May 26 2017

4.9 out of 5 stars   82 reviews from Amazon.com |

Resurrecting Proust: Unearthing Personal Narratives through Journaling: Unearthing Personal Narratives through Journaling by [Harris, CoCo]
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Resurrecting Proust: Unearthing Personal Narratives through Journaling: Unearthing Personal Narratives through Journaling Kindle Edition


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Set new goals, and dream new dreams. Explore your creative side.

Explore your creative side. Dream new dreams, and set new goals.

Your creative work will tell your story. Pamela Slim

Yesterday watching a makeover show a woman was talking about letting out her inner self. We can call it our inner diva, Goddess, artist, entrepreneur, poet, comedian, or spiritualist. Whatever part of our self has been put on hold or not yet developed while we did the important job of looking after home and hearth, husbands and children. We can be in the workforce and not have this hidden self-developed, maybe because we are in the workforce. He or she is longing to come forth, sometimes we don’t know what is missing in our life and this is what is missing, the part of our self that isn’t being expressed.

We think it is a simple thing to get a new hairdo and makeup. It might be best if we can do the two together but it is so easy now to get a new hairstyle and many makeup places will do full makeup for a reasonable cost.

When my daughter was getting married everyone encouraged me to get highlights. I was making do with a little box of hair color from the drug store and doing it myself. What he has done with my hair is so much better than what I was doing, so I’ve kept it up. When we find the right hair stylist they make us feel more like our self.

Men may decide to change their facial hair, grow a beard, mustache, or shave off the beard or mustache, or even shave their head. A new look isn’t only for women.

When a makeup artist shows us what a difference a little makeup can make and how to apply it, our life can change. We look at our self differently; we get a spring in our step. They highlight our best features and play down the ones we least like.

That little change can begin to show up in the rest of our life as well. We may realize it is time to bring something into our lives that didn’t fit in when our life was so full of child rearing.

What art offers is space – a certain breathing room for the spirit. John Updike

We can take ourselves out for creative exploration dates. Visit art galleries, art shops, spoken word venues, comedy clubs, maybe a choir is looking for members, we could visit local churches to join a choir, or maybe a local band is looking for musicians or singers. Check out our local Toastmasters, the library book club, take a class in something that has always interested us, attend a seminar, come out to a local club, visitors are usually welcome. We can join the local arts group.

At the writer’s group, we are mostly people who built a life doing something else. Becoming a better public speaker increases our confidence, and gives us the courage to explore other areas of our lives. When we find our voice we find our self. That may be our singing voice, artistic voice, whatever avenue we explore changes us in some way. Taking a dance class, or Zumba at the local gym can change our body image. We get over being self-conscious as we gain confidence and love the way we feel when we move our body.

This is a journey no one can do for us. We have to take it for our self. We have to accept we will not be good at anything new in the beginning, once we silence our inner critic we can enjoy the process. It doesn’t matter where we start if something doesn’t seem like a fit we can look at something else. There are so many ways to be creative, so many ways to express our self.

It may be clichéd but shouldn’t we all be on a journey of self-discovery? This is our life. Can we find what feeds our soul? Find what is the contribution we are to make, the one that leaves everyone poorer, especially our self if we don’t make it.

Is there something you’ve always wanted to do, learn, experience, or understand? Is the time to do it now?

The world needs your art. Go forth, and create it. Brian Gardner

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The power of groups. Creativity and balance. Love is still the most important thing.

Love is still the most important thing. Creativity and balance. The power of groups.

Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life. Dolly Parton

The Writers Group didn’t disappoint. Hearing what others are achieving and have achieved is so inspiring. A woman came up to me and told me she liked my reading from last month. She’s written a book that is available on Amazon called Love the Journey.

I’ve used pictures of my art on my blog and I printed out some of my blog posts. Yesterday I read the International Women’s Day post. A gentleman I met for the first time was looking through my printed posts and asked if I sell my art. He collects art and is interested in purchasing a piece. I’ll have to think about this, how does one price one’s art?

Another gentleman is starting up a small radio program; he asked if I would want to be a guest? Yes, yes, yes.

An editor came out to our group. She wants to understand the mind of the writer. She wants to understand the difference between those who write because they love it, who feel compelled, find it therapeutic, etc, and those who do it for money and money alone. Maybe no one does it for money alone, because there are much easier ways to make money.

We are told one of the ways to generate passive income is to write a book. Once you write it, the possibility of royalties for the rest of your life is there. Not to be negative, but most writers aren’t getting a lot of royalties, but some are. We always hope to be in the latter group.

There is power in groups. It is inspiring to be part of one. We also heard from one young man that he is stepping back his involvement. He’s young, unmarried, and is beginning to feel the rewards he gets from his writing and performing his poems in spoken word, and seeing his work published is not as fulfilling as what he sees his friends have as they get married and start having a family.

The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man. Euripides

He is actually the one that impressed me the most. When we understand what is important in our life, and put first things first we can enjoy everything else. As a person who put family first and developed my art and writing later, I feel he’s making the right decision.

If we take each season of our life and do the most important thing in that season we will build a good life. Our twenties and early thirties are the time to find a mate and start a family. No amount of success in any field is likely to fill that hole if we don’t make time for relationships.

Everyone may not agree with me, we may undervalue the relationships in our life as we feel let down by them. We expected more, but when I speak to people who no longer have the messy, complicated, cantankerous, demanding, selfish, giving, loving, understanding, compassionate, humorous, warm person in their life they miss all that person was. They miss the good and the bad, the laughter and the discussions that got too loud and too long, the contention and the fun, going out together and spending time in front of the TV with the other person hogging the remote.

When it’s gone, it’s all gone. Our partners aren’t perfect; our life isn’t what we thought it would be. If we are lucky to have a partner, we can make it better. We can laugh more, we can do more, we can have more fun, we can watch sunrises, and sunsets, we can discover new things far afield or close to home. We can start new projects, we can finish old ones.

It is up to us to keep our love affair going. We may think the more we love them, the more we’ll miss them. It may be true but the missing is without regret I’m told because you made the best of what there was.

If we have love in our life, we are blessed. No amount of material success will take the place of love. No amount of books on Amazon will make coming home to an empty house easier.

We should develop our creativity to feed our soul, but we also need to make time for those who share our lives. Finding the balance may not be easy, but then who said life should be easy.

No matter how busy you are, or how busy you think you are, the work will always be there tomorrow, but your friends might not be. Anonymous

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The Fire Starter Sessions: A Soulful + Practical Guide to Creating Success on Your Own Terms Paperback – Feb 18 2014