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I lived firmly ensconced in my comfort zone.

A nice little life.

Family, kids, a house, a job.

Somewhere along the line,

The niceness got . . . boring.

Days running one into another,

Undistinguished, predictable, confining,

Too bloody endless to contemplate continuing.

First there’s a funk and a desire for more.

Then a wishful thought.

When wishful thinking fails,

I screw up my courage

Grow a backbone to replace the wishbone,

Take a risk

Dance on the edge of my comfort zone.

I’ve stumbled and failed

More than once, more than twice,

More than many times.

The thing too scary to contemplate?

Folding back in on myself,

Crawling beaten back to my comfort zone,

Settling.

Sooo not going to happen!

Afraid to Do by Mary Jaksch

The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson says: “Always do what you are afraid to do.” What is ‘too scary’ to write about? Try doing it now.

(Author: Mary Jaksch)

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It’s a rare person who hasn’t at some point lived through a situation that prompted them to second guess themselves and think “I shoulda, coulda, woulda.

We are all blessed with 20/20 hindsight.  Being able to go back in time and actually benefit from it would be a grand thing.

Presumably the freakish bending of time required, would provide only a brief window of opportunity to allow sharing that insight, so what exactly would chose to share with myself?

I know what my first instinct was.  But maybe I should explore some others before I jump the gun.  I mean, if I had only a few minutes to talk, what would really make the biggest difference for Past Me?

Would it be a warning about what’s to come?  A play by play, to help me fast forward through the rough spots?  Some pithy advice on what to do or not do?  Or maybe I should cut to the chase and give myself a winning lottery number.

All reasonable possibilities, but I think the best use of my window of opportunity would be to advise myself to stop living so much in my head and trying to figure life out.  I’d advise myself to listen to my heart’s desire and trust that the rest of it would fall in line.  Then if I had enough time, I’d urge myself to have more fun, exercise more and travel more.

When it was my turn to talk with Future Me, I wouldn’t waste my time talking.  I’d listen, and maybe ask for that winning lottery number.

Five Years by Corbett Barr

There will be an agreement in whatever variety of actions, so they be each honest and natural in their hour. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

What would you say to the person you were five years ago? What will you say to the person you’ll be in five years?

(Author: Corbett Barr)

Playing with ideas is my stock in trade.  I am an information aggregator, a program planner, a transformational educator.  Helping people reach beyond their lazy little comfort zones is what I do for a living.

So you might expect that I’d be better prepared than most to make that leap from rational thought to relying on intuition and instinct.

Well yes and no.  I am fully aware of the dangers of being trapped in my head, ruled by my need to figure things out, and be logical.  But knowing that hasn’t made escaping the dictates of my brain any easier.  It’s difficult to just abandon an invaluable tool that has worked so well for so many years.

The pitfall of course is, “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”, because before you know it, you are hammering away at everything trying to force things to happen the way you think they should.

For the past several months, I’ve been making a conscious effort to crawl out of my head and back into my body where my intuition resides.

One of the ways I have done that is to rein in my tendency to get caught up in ideas, and grandiose plans, in favor of simply taking action.  Baby stepping my way to success with easily defined concrete actions.

But the concrete actions I’m taking aren’t thoughtfully planned and orchestrated actions.  They are the intuitive response to a question.

A simple question, that I had simply stopped asking myself.  I’d asked myself intellectually of course and then ‘figured out’ a logical, rational and socially acceptable answer.

But I’d neglected to confer with the deepest part of me.  To ask myself, “What do I want?”, and then sit in silence and really listen to what my small, still voice had to say. When it speaks, it doesn’t speak rocket science, strategic plans, and definitive answers.  It points you in a direction, gives you a shove and says “Go explore, try it on for size, experiment, and have fun.”

So my bold action, probably wouldn’t seem bold to others.  It’s about coming home to me.  Reconnecting with my intuition, my inner knowing and standing in the power of that connection.

I’ve stepped away from rational thought, and turning around to identify obstacles and plan to overcome them would defeat the purpose, so I’m going to continue to simply rely on my intuition.

My first step will make absolutely no sense to you.  I’m re-claiming the overgrown landscape in my back yard.  Pulling weeds, digging, pruning and planting.  I’m not going to bother trying to explain it or put it in context because all that matters is that it’s the first step in a journey and it makes sense to me.

It’s a small concrete, doable action that’s making me happy and is creating momentum in the direction I want to go.

Yay me.  I’ve started.  And I’m not worried about what my next step will be. It will show up naturally when my momentum carries me forward enough to take it.  It’s really a pretty peaceful way to approach life.

Dare to be bold by Matt Cheuvront

Our arts, our occupations, our marriages, our religion, we have not chosen, but society has chosen for us. We are parlour soldiers. We shun the rugged battle of fate, where strength is born. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Next to Resistance, rational thought is the artist or entrepreneurs worst enemy. Bad things happen when we employ rational thought, because rational thought comes from the ego. Instead, we want to work from the Self, that is, from instinct and intuition, from the unconscious.

A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable, nor does the genius or the madman. Its only you and I, with our big brains and our tiny hearts, who doubt and overthink and hesitate.” – Steven Pressfield, Do the Work

The idea of “being realistic” holds all of us back. From starting a business or quitting a job to dating someone who may not be our type or moving to a new place – getting “real” often means putting your dreams on hold.

Today, let’s take a step away from rational thought and dare to be bold. What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to accomplish but have been afraid to pursue? Write it down. Also write down the obstacles in your way of reaching your goal. Finally, write down a tangible plan to overcome each obstacle.

The only thing left is to, you know, actually go make it happen. What are you waiting for?

(Author: Matt Cheuvront)

ARRGGHH, Jonathan!  Another toughie!  #Trust30, is demanding an overwhelming amount of introspection in order to do these writing prompts any justice.

Some days it easier than others to muster the required level of energy and willingness to dig deep and be philosophical.  And that’s an unusual admission for an introvert than has managed to take navel gazing to Olympic proportions!

But today, my brain is done and my heart is telling me enough.  Enough thinking, enough planning, enough figuring things out.

I’m clear that if I want to find my heart’s desire, I won’t find it in my head.

Today and for my days moving forward, whether I am dying next week or not, I’m committing myself for listening to my heart first.  I think it is wiser than my mind.

Each day I sit quietly, listen to the guidance my heart, and then do what I am called to do.

It feels simple, peaceful and very right.

Come Alive by Jonathan Mead

Life wastes itself while we are preparing to live. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you had one week left to live, would you still be doing what you’re doing now? In what areas of your life are you preparing to live? Take them off your To Do list and add them to a To Stop list. Resolve to only do what makes you come alive.

Bonus: How can your goals improve the present and not keep you in a perpetual “always something better” spiral?

(Author: Jonathan Mead)

I have a friend who recently went to Belize for 6 months to write a book.  Initially I was envious, but at some point realized that, for me, spending that much time at the beach, would be running away from life, when what I really want to do is run headlong into life.

And I believe the place to do that is Italy.

I have a secret crush on Italy.

It’s one of those places that held a magnetic draw for me, long before Under the Tuscan Sun ignited the escapist imaginations of so many women.

I am Canadian by birth, English and Scottish by heritage but aspire to marinate in the joi di vivere of the Italian experience.

During the final year of her undergrad degree, my daughter was blessed to spend a semester studying in Florence.  And when she was done, my husband and I were blessed to join her to spend 3 sensual weeks exploring, tasting, and reveling in culture, food, art, history and adventure.

In an effort to experience as much as humanly possible, it felt as though we’d strapped on our running shoes and literally run through the country.

Three weeks is simply not enough time for even a superficial sampling of the richness of Italy.

And so, I MUST return.  This time for longer, and with an intent to stay in one place for a while, perhaps to work, to settle in, to write and experience Italy, as opposed to merely visiting it.

There are places that I must without question, return to and allow to soak so deeply into my bones that they become a part of me.

The only thing that lies between me and Italy, is timing, and making the move from wishful thinking to commitment & planning.  I will know when the time is right.

It’s not quite yet, but then, I’ve always been of the opinion that one of the best parts of having a dream come true is the anticipation.  That way I get to enjoy it many times. Once in the anticipation, again when I drink in every sight, sound, flavor and experience, and then many more times as I sit and fondle my memories.

Even as I sit here I can feel the tears that coursed down my cheeks as I stood and gazed at the statue of David for the first time.  I can remember …  I can remember…

Travel by Chris Guillebeau

If we live truly, we shall see truly. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Not everyone wants to travel the world, but most people can identify at least one place in the world they’d like to visit before they die. Where is that place for you, and what will you do to make sure you get there?

(Author: Chris Guillebeau)

As I sat pondering today’s writing prompt, my husband of 36 years wandered through the room and suggested that he was my biggest challenge and my question should be “How have I lasted?

That would be an expedient solution, and allow me to turn my attention to the TV program that I am currently multi-tasking as I write, but I think I can manage something a bit more related to our over-arching theme of Self-Reliance and trust.

The biggest challenge that faces me is not earning what I need while doing the work I feel pulled to do.  So my question?

How can I get paid handsomely to do my assigned work?

Post-it Question by Jenny Blake

That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him. Where is the master who could have taught Shakespeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon, or Newton? . . . Shakespeare will never be made by the study of Shakespeare. Do that which is assigned you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Identify one of your biggest challenges at the moment (ie I don’t feel passionate about my work) and turn it into a question (ie How can I do work I’m passionate about?) Write it on a post-it and put it up on your bathroom mirror or the back of your front door. After 48-hours, journal what answers came up for you and be sure to evaluate them.

Bonus: tweet or blog a photo of your post-it.

I procrastinated on tackling today’s writing prompt.  The first two, sprang freely from my pen, but this sparked a reluctant quiver that had me push it to the bottom of my to do list for the day.

Reluctant to perhaps prod a tender spot of dissent between myself and family or close friends.  Something that holds us apart and I’d rather ignore, leaving it unacknowledged and hidden in the weeds.

But it was more than fear or reluctance that held me back.  I realized it was personality and vocabulary.

Passion, power and fearlessness are such extraverted words.  Words that I seldom use with comfort or conviction and have never identified with.

Only an extravert could comfortably lay claim to those superlatives, and righteous absolutes.

As an introvert, however, I must, must, must take exception to using extraverted words to stake claim in the idea that the world is powered by extraverts.

Not that I’m denying their overwhelming contribution.  Their power to spark and catalyze change.  But I’d also like to defend the role of the introvert in powering the world.

What passion, powerful ideas and fearless action are to an extravert, quiet conviction, insight, and steadfastness are to an introvert.

The gifts an introvert brings to the table are more subdued, but they form a trustworthy bedrock that has staying power when the fire of passion has burned itself out.

Which brings me back to the  back to the prompt.  “What’s one strong belief you possess that isn’t shared by your closest friends or family?”

For now I will say forgiveness.  My belief and ability to forgive almost anything.

Including the extraverted tendency to forget that we quiet, mysterious, introverted people in the background are simply the flip side to your exuberance, passion and energy.

I and the other introverts I know aspire to the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote.

It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.

While we tend to keep our own counsel, and revel in the sweetness of our solitudes, when need calls upon us we will respond with conviction, insight and steadfastness.  If the world needs power, I’d say that’s pretty good fuel.

So, when you extraverts rush off to power the world with your passion and fury, just remember, we have your back.

Today’s writing prompt:  One Strong Belief 

It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

The world is powered by passionate people, powerful ideas, and fearless action. What’s one strong belief you possess that isn’t shared by your closest friends or family? What inspires this belief, and what have you done to actively live it?

(Author: Buster Benson)