Tag Archives: dreams

Toss Those Lists and Dive into Something New

Somehow, rather unconsciously I believe, my resolve for this year became about doing instead of thinking about doing. While I have always been a list maker, believing this was the way to be productive, my attachment to making lists has gone by the wayside. Lists are about organization and getting things done. My new motto is more about process and finding ones self and purpose. While lists are not a bad thing if you are going out to do errands, what I’ve discovered is that they stand in the way of spontaneity and being in the moment; seeing what life brings and places in front of us. This change for me began with one of my favorite authors, Mark Nepo, and his book “Things That Join The Sea And The Sky. Philosopher and poet, Mr. Nepo gives us words that are soft and gentle, but still profound and wrenching and life shaking. His short essay “Quieting the Thieves” inspired me to start changing the way I was living. I read a little Mark Nepo every day and find him inspiring on many levels. If you do read some of his work, let us know how you like it and if it has inspired you!
We are given lists and steps we need to take throughout much of our lives. Since kindergarten there has been order placed upon us. School, work, marriage, kids, more work, more education; all signs tells us if we do things in a certain order we will have happy and successful lives. If that is true, then why is it that so many people I know and talk to (including myself) are still searching for something. It isn’t that we haven’t been successful or haven’t raised great kids or enjoyed the work we have done. All good…except? What is it we are supposed to be doing? I hear this from people who love their jobs and from people who are looking to make a change. It has nothing to do with money or “success”. It has everything to do with our mortality and our wish to leave a positive mark on the world and feel the deep peace that knowing our purpose provides.
For me, the notion of doing and not thinking about doing has freed me from living in the world of excuses. How often do you find yourself saying; “I would love to try that!”, “Wouldn’t that be fun”, “I want to ________(fill in the blank with your own desire)” Do it! With so much information out there it is easy to get mired down in the research of something we want to do, which can kill any initial joy. Just try something, have some fun. Always wanted to draw? Grab a sketchbook and pencil and go outside. Want to write. Grab a pen and a piece of paper and write something down. Doesn’t matter what. Write a letter to someone. Write down a dream. Write down how the backyard is looking as spring approaches. Movement will create movement in the same way that letting thoughts stay as thoughts creates stagnation. Don’t hide your work. Show it to your partner or send it to a friend. Doesn’t matter how “good” it is. Be proud of yourself. Sharing will make you keep engaged. When we start doing, we start becoming aware. We see what is happening at that moment; what is the universe giving us and showing us. Don’t overthink it. If you find something engaging and you want to learn more then go for it. But before you go on Youtube or start looking at books and classes and supplies, just have fun.
Doing helps us get closer to our purpose and to understanding this life we are given. There is no failure other than not giving something new and different a shot and seeing how it opens your eyes and where it takes you. Remember, it may not be exactly what you try that is the purpose in your life; but the awareness you develop, the people you meet and being curious enough to follow a path it suggests may lead you to something much bigger then you ever believed possible.
If you have a story about finding an activity that has inspired you and lead you down a path that perhaps you weren’t expecting please share it with us!

Take a Look Around. Is Your Space Blocking your Creativity?

There are many ways in which we block ourselves from pursuing our dreams and passions. Engaging and sustaining our true selves takes work. Most of my suggestions are for ideas we can do mentally and spiritually to get past fear and other dream inhibiting thought processes. Right now though, I want to talk a little about the physical space where you work and/or live.

Yesterday I made banana bread. I used my Mom’s recipe and it came out great. I will share it with you at the end of this post. It is really very easy and my Mom had one “must do” that I think keeps this bread moist and flavorful. After I put the breads in the oven to bake, I looked around at the mess I had made which was substantial. Now I am usually a very neat cook and baker. By the time something goes in the oven or is simmering on the stove I usually don’t have much clean up. I pondered this as I loaded the dishwasher and tidied up and came to the conclusion that my kitchen isn’t quite finished. It needs some tweaking or fine tuning. Yes, it is done in the sense that it is brand new and has great cupboard space and brand new appliances and everything else. But I have yet to make it my own space in the sense of effortlessly moving through recipes and having everything in its easiest and most accessible spot.

Having been in my house now for about 3 months, I am what you could call unpacked and moved in. The reality is that it does take time to make a house a home and a reflection of the people who live there, and while I am happy with some rooms, I still have a ways to go. Outside I’ve planted pots of flowers and filled my big window box, but have been watching the yard to see what comes up and how the sun shifts during the year. Next year I will start creating a garden for the birds and butterflies (and chipmunks!)

My home feels like a space where parts of it have only  half come together. I have just sort of been sitting with things the way they are , believing that decorating and a more pulled together look will happen in time. The problem with this is that I seem to be having all these creative ideas I want to pursue, but much of my space is not yet fostering and furthering the process for me. I am lately realizing that I am a little backwards in my thinking and this has been holding me and my project ideas hostage. My ideas are not going to bloom unless my surroundings reflect who I am and provide the type of space that I need to foster new directions in my life.

While I know folks who are in new spaces, not everyone is starting from scratch like me. Still, take a look around your house, your studio, your kitchen. Do you have a favorite spot for the activities you pursue, or do you constantly move around trying to get comfortable and settled? What in your physical space doesn’t flow and augment your life? Do you need different colors, more art, more storage, less stuff?  Do you ever walk into a room and it just seems sad or a bit neglected?  Certainly adding some new life to rooms has to be good for us. Even if we just feel happier walking into them we will create more positive energy in our home and the world.

If you need inspiration pick up a magazine or two. Visit some home decor places or shops that you find inspiring. If you like perusing online definitely take a look at http://www.houzz.com .  You can see photos of all sorts of renovated rooms here and can even request photos with certain colors, styles, or size of room. I recently looked at a magazine showing personal work spaces created by women. These were serious and incredible spaces and beautifully photographed. And while your room(s) may not need a complete redo, sometimes simply moving a piece of furniture or adding some new art or new pillows on a chair can do it. Fresh flowers can be powerful in their color and scent. If you have a garden now is the time to take some cuttings and let them bring freshness and color into your home. I love geraniums and sometimes just pick a few leaves to crush as the scent is always soothing to me. Even a good cleaning can change the energy in a room; open a window and clear out the dust bunnies. See if that doesn’t let some inspiration come scampering out from the recesses of your mind.

I have decided to become more proactive in creating  more workable  and happier rooms for myself and fine tweaking a few others. I hope that you too will take a look around your home and/or work space and try even a few small changes that might make things flow easier. In order to make changes in our lives we are working at cleaning out the clutter from our brains and getting rid of negativity and patterns that don’t work. Doing the same with our surroundings is going to help that process! Let me know how it goes!

Now here is that banana bread recipe.

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk (or regular milk with a few drops of vinegar)
1 tsp baking soda
dash of salt
2 cups sifted flour
3 large ripe bananas (mashed lumpy)

Mix in the order given. Pour mixture into 2 small loaf pans that have been greased and floured.
Bake 1 hour at 300 degrees.

The key to this recipe is to mash the bananas with a fork instead of with the electric mixer. I have even used a potato masher. Then just fold them gently into the other ingredients.

Excuses…Banish Them And Start Facing your fears.


Today’s topic is not likely to be enthusiastically received by you, my readers. So before reading on, take a deep breath and try to finish the post without a “yeah, but…” right off the bat.

Excuses are use for a myriad of situations.  They make us feel better or ease our conscience, supposedly relieving us of blame when we don’t fulfill an obligation or don’t make progress forging ahead with a dream or goal.  But the relief is only temporary and sooner or later we need to let go of our dependance upon them if we want to live a life of joy and freedom.  Excuses allow us to not face up to the real reason we don’t get where we are wanting to go, and become disenchanted with trying to transform our life. And I’m betting that most of you know the real reason.  It is fear, plain and simple. That is the big ugly monster in the closet. And until we stop making excuses, fear will lurk in the background dumping rain all over your parade and happiness in your decision to change your life. Little scary isn’t it?  The only way to get past fear is to stop with the excuses. Every time you start to make an excuse that keeps you stuck you need to stop yourself and re-focus. Remember, small baby steps will get you there.

While the list of excuses is endless, the two that are used the most often should be no surprise to us. They are time and money. So how do you begin to banish not only these excuses, but others that are holding you back?

If you have been reading my prior posts and done some soul searching and work to discover what it is that you want to change in your life, then you hopefully have created a mini-plan or outline to help you attain your goal. Remember my last post about setting goals rather than expectations? I’m hoping you all took that to heart and moved your dreams from fantasy to acknowledging that you need to start doing some work to make them happen. Excuses will only prevent you from doing this work and leave you in a stagnant situation.

The more focused you can be in pursuing your goals and the more they become a part of your daily activities, the easier it is going to be to rid yourself of these two excuses. There are many ways to make your dreams the focus of your daily life and still be productive at your day job or other obligations. It may sound silly, but list them out and tack them on the fridge…on the wall in front of your desk. Use them as a bookmark or keep them in your wallet purse. Make an acronym out of them if you are able. Whenever you are having a down or discouraging moment just repeat them to yourself. Have faith in yourself and what you can accomplish.

A simple pen and paper exercise can help you begin to release both the time and money excuse from your mind.  Just for a day or two record the time you spend on all your activities. This means Facebook and social media, exercising, just sitting, cooking, work, reading or anything else you spend your day doing. Do you see any areas where there could be improvement? Do the same thing with money. Record every dime you spend for a couple of days. From bills to coffee to parking meters, to online orders, add it all up. See any places you could cut back.
While this is a relatively simple exercise, it can lead to many questions and force you to look at your entire life. While monetary obligations are real when we own homes, cars, and other material goods, are all these things worth the cost and time it takes to keep them? Only you can answer this question for yourself. Do you love your job. You may love your work and your dream may involve a goal that uses the skills you have now. So time spent at work might be valuable to you. Then you need to look at how some time periods may be used more productively so you have time to focus on your goals. If you are spending time doing things you don’t love, or working to have material things that don’t bring you joy, this is the time to work towards changing that and creating the life you desire.

I also want to recommend a blog post to you on this subject. It will challenge the resistance you have to letting go of the money excuse. It is by Shawn Blanc, one of my favorite bloggers. You can find him at Shawnblanc.net.  The blog post Fear not Money can be found by clicking on the archives.