Focusing on First Things First

Attitude of Gratitude, self improvement, The Inspired Life, Writing

There is the saying: I got out of the wrong side of the bed today.

A rather silly saying, but used to mean, “I didn’t get the day started off properly” and once things started off in the wrong direction, well…down the hill it went, like Jack and Jill, and no one could quite get it back the rest of the day. Sometimes, a bad start to the day is a spill of milk or running out of coffee. ( That one will set me off FOR SURE) or the children will bicker.

Sometimes, though, the alarm goes off and you don’t get up. You roll over, skip the work out, talk yourself out of your morning routine and then it’s a rush to get into traffic, a rush to sit in it and a rush to get out. Life is no fun. We KNOW this isn’t good for us. We KNOW we feel better when we stick to our routines, do our work out, eat healthy, clean up a little and throw in that laundry before we are sniffing the undies in hope that they are clean, so WHY oh WHY do we let ourselves get into the muddle of last minute muck up?

It’s because we are living a reactive life rather than a proactive one. It’s a matter of making sure the garden is full of beautiful flowers that has no room for weeds to grow, or letting things slide so far that all you have now is a big weed garden and all you do is pull weeds and have no fun.

I want my home to be a pretty place with a cheery welcoming front door, with an organized life behind that door, pretty flowers and a peaceful, fun atmosphere. I want my body to be healthy and trim, exercised and well nourished, my family fed and in shape as well. I want to explore my creativity, challenge my comfort zones and expand my horizons as a person, while maintaining my identities as a mother, a wife, a daughter and a friend.

I also want to be a full time writer- who actually begins to earn a living from her craft. I want to paint more. I am inspired by my friend Amy Palko to do more with my photography. ( see photo above, a picture I took on our honeymoon in Ireland). My creative playground is a place where I could hang out for hours, writing and painting, playing my guitar, my drums, hanging out in my garden, or….I could get lost in the world of reading books….and never come out to play at all….

Of course there is the wonderland rabbit hole of the bloggers Intenet. Read just one blog and leave a comment. Then notice an interesting title in Commentluv. Click on it. Follow down the rabbit-hole to somewhere interesting…read…leave a comment…notice one of your favorite bloggers put up a new post…click…follow..read..comment..repeat…funny-how-the-day-went way.

Any one of these things done first…and nothing else at all could get done.

No exercise, no laundry, no dinner for the family, no grocery shopping, no return phone calls to whoever was on the TO DO list. Then the next day piles up, and the next and life turns in to a big catch up game. The house isn’t clean. I don’t know what is for dinner. I feel more sluggish because the exercise didn’t happen. And oh, by the way, now the muse has left me, because the MUSE thinks I should go get my dang house work done too!

First things first.

In order for MY life to work right, things have to be done in a certain order. I need to get up in the morning and have my quiet time. The very first and MOST important first for me. The time of the day to get centered and focus on gratitude and love and priorities. Miss that one, and I HAVE gotten out on the wrong side of the bed. Then I have to check that list of things to do. Then the kitchen, the daily chores, and laundry. Then kids and husband all settled and then exercise. EVERY DAY. Then and only then can I turn on the Creative Juice. If I do it backwards and let the juices flow first, they spill all over and get things soggy.  Now, the added advantage is the Muse will most often come and visit while I am in the routine of the ordinary. When I am doing the little ordinary things where the brain can switch off, then my mind can wander off to play with the muse and go visiting off to *wonderland* that beautiful little world of “I wonder this and I wonder that”, which is a very creative place for a writer’s brain to be.

This isn’t to say that I always get this right. This is to say in fact…that I start to get it right..stumble…fall…get back up and start again. But I do know HOW to do it right. When I’m not distracted. When I FOCUS on putting first things first. When I start my day right side up. Sunny side up.

How about you? What is your routine? How do you manage being a creative person and keep it all together? Do you do the same things every day in the same way? Do you have a first things first? An order to your madness? Please share!

 

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Inspiring Things that Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Attitude of Gratitude, The Inspired Life

Around and round and round it goes where it stops nobody knows….

This tagging thing has got to stop. I’m getting dizzy. I can’t keep track of who in the circle has been tagged or hasn’t and some have been twice so…oooh my…I’m getting off the ride before I swoon.

And for those of you who have no earthly idea what I am talking about, ( and I barely do either) I’ll try to explain because I know that a lot of my readers don’t actually live in blogsville ( Meaning you don’t write your own blogs ( yet– be careful-it’s contagious-ask Jenny!)

In blogsville, the kids go around playing a game called Tag Meme ( Or something like that) where they have to tag each other and then they write a post with 8 things about themselves in it and then tag 8 other people, who then keep the game of tag going even longer. So my wonderful friend Brett tagged me. Thanks Brett. But because I run slow, I have waited and waited and all of our friends have ran around and tagged each other all over and over again and are so tired now that I think they have all fallen over in the grass. Or maybe they have just given up and headed over to Tei’s place at the Lusty Weevil (Adults only Warning- don’t bring your kids or innocent eyes).

So. Being the rebel that I am, I’m not going to follow the rules. This is-after all- Life’s Little Inspirations– not show and tell. But I will play along in my own little fashion and give to you:

 

Eight Things That Inspire Wendi

  1. Waking up to an amazing sunrise that is spreading out in brilliant colors across the sky and realizing that every day begins with art makes me want to stand on a mountain top and sing like Julie Andrews. Sometimes I do, but I don’t think I sound as good.
  2. Standing with my toes touching a wave in the ocean and thinking that wave is going to go back out into the world and touch everything everywhere because we are all connected.
  3. Holding on to my bible and wondering about the people who took the time to record the stories and the folk-lore and traditions and the laws and how much they understood the importance of words and history and time. did they?
  4. Writing in my journals, asking God for clarification and help to understand a problem, and coming back later and re-reading it, realizing that I DO get it and feeling SO GRATEFUL, like a light-bulb has gone off and I feel like I can fly.
  5. Listening to the wisdom of my elders, who are traveling the road before me, who have learned the lessons I am working through, who inspire me with their dignity, their strength, their laughter, their creativity,their wisdom: My mother, My Mother-in Law, Ms O, so many others…
  6. Talking with, playing with, cuddling with my children and my grandchildren. Children are God’s teachers.They have taught me everything. They fill me up. (Thanks Chillies.)
  7. Looking into the eyes of Maggie, my dog. She inspires me with the way she wants to give me everything and love me with her whole heart with pure and simple intent. She is beautiful.
  8. John. My Husband. Our love and partnership gives me power and strength,vision and confidence. Facing each day girded with the strengh of unconditional love, teamwork, like-minded goals and a best friend who believes in me inspires me to make the most of each day. Thank you honey for being you. I love you.

As far as tagging anyone else, you will have to tag yourself. I can’t remember anyone who hasn’t been tagged yet. Except maybe Jenny. Jenny, tag yourself IF you want to. I’m not tagging anyone.

But I would love to hear your comments here about what inspires you. Please share…What fills you with wonder and inspiration?

Balancing Balloons

Healthy Lifestyles, self improvement, The Inspired Life

It isn’t easy balancing all the different areas of our lives. Sometimes it feels as if we are hanging on to a giant bunch of colorful balloons and if we aren’t holding on tightly to every single string then …POOF! There goes all of our balloons up in the air drifting away, heading for the clouds or trees, getting caught up in the branches of life.

Ever felt like a wailing child who’s balloon just went POP? Whaaaaaa, There went my red balloooon……

But Honey…you still have a green one.

But I neeeed my red one tooooo……

Of course you do. We need all of our Balloons. Every single one of them. But somehow, just as you get the air back in the Physical Fitness Balloon the Spend Time with Family Balloon starts sinking slowly to the ground. Then Bob at work signs you up as the team leader for an important project and the Business Balloon gets puffed full of air while the Fitness Balloon takes a nosedive. And that Spiritual Balloon? Comes up only on Sunday. The Finance Balloon? Well, You kick it along on the ground with your toe, just to help it keep up.

Sure, you have goals. But every time you start on a goal, something else seems to suffer. It’s almost frightening to start something new. It’s like planning to fail, you can just feel one of those balloons start to lose air. The question is…which one?

It doesn’t have to be so frightening. ( says the Queen of focus) ( yes, I know, it’s terrifying) There is a way that can help those of us that struggle to keep our balloons in the air. I write this as one who struggles. I write as one who is learning as I go along. Not as an expert. I once said you would never hear about how I am an expert in balance at Life’s Little Inspirations. And you won’t. But I will share what helps a cobbler, cobbling along. Balance is my handicap. I get a new gig and I run full force with two feet forward until I fall down. However, as I learn and grow, I fall faster and get up quicker. I grab my balloon string just as it starts to slip now instead of after the red balloon is gliding off to heaven. I’m learning some tips to help me hang on to my balloons.

I thought I’d share my tips with you, maybe you can share some of yours with me, maybe together we can keep our balloons a little longer!

Wendi’s Tips For Balancing Balloons

  • Label your balloons clearly. It’s not enough to know that they are the RED Balloon and the GREEN Balloon. Get in touch with your main balloons. What are they? What are the main five to six areas of your life that need your daily focus? What balloons are you trying to keep in the air?
  • Look at your goals. Name the number 1.2.& 3 goals for each balloon. Now take a good look. Are these connected? Or do they have you running in circles? Try looking for a long term goal, then breaking it down into a ninety day goal. Now what can you do this week to affect that goal? How about today? See the difference? You might want to put the other two goals aside for a bit if they weren’t connected to the long term vision. The point of the exercise is to end up with a short term, a mid-term (90 day) and your long term goal.
  • Put it in Writing. Now that you have a goal for each balloon, put it in writing. IF YOUR PLAN IS NOT IN WRITING, IT ISN’T A PLAN, ITS A DREAM. Get out your planning calendar and start filling in dates that you will take action on your plan. Seeing an actual appointment on your calendar will hold you more accountable. Write in the TIME that you will do the action. Make the actual appointment. IF it’s not on your calendar, it’s not a plan…if it’s not a plan…it’s a dream. ( Starting to sink in?)
  • Ask yourself WHY? Why have you made these goals? Staying motivated to keep balanced in all of these goals is difficult. It takes discipline and focus. Staying Motivated is linked to your inner purpose, your inner drive and your passion. No passion = no fuel in the tank to make it happen. Write down the WHY of your goals. “I am doing this because….. ” Make sure you know what your passion is for each one of your balloons. Sometimes we only feel passion for one of our balloons at a time. This is the single largest reason our other balloons start sinking to the ground. Start a sentence for each balloon that says “I am passionate about this because…” and review it daily.
  • Record and compare & Journal. Track your results in a daily planner or on your calendar. Be accountable to the progress you made in each area. Remember, this isn’t a long list. With only one goal of focus in each area, you are only looking at a few minutes a day. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by making your expectations too high. The goal is one bite of the elephant at a time in each area. We aren’t out to eat the entire herd! Journal about your progress and expectations. No matter how it FEELS like it’s going, stay the course! The discipline of sticking it out when the going gets rough brings opportunity and personal growth, whether you meet the original goal or not!.
  • Create an visual reminder. Draw a chart with the five circles in it, or make a poster board with different color balloons if that helps you. Keep it present, in front of you. Out of sight is out of mind. If you want to make a dry erase board that you can write on every day-go for it! What ever makes it easy for you to envision the balloons that you are trying to keep up.
  • Keep it fun! You are more likely to stick with something if you are having fun with it. Balloons are fun for me to imagine, But you can turn balloons into whatever is fun for you. Have a good time with it.  Running shoes, or Stars or Olympic Circles. One point of the theme that is significant to me is that they are all connected. It reminds me that no part of my life survives untouched without the rest. When my health suffers, my family suffers, when my family suffers, my work suffers. When my work suffers our budget suffers. And around and around it goes.

Balance is important. That doesn’t mean that it will ever be easy for me. I think I’m genetically predisposed to be creative and energetic and run through life like a shooting star. Not so much like a Zen Master. But by finding creative and fun ways to work on balance, I can keep my balloons from floating away.

How about you? How do you keep your balloons from flying off to heaven or running out of air? Please share! We all need the help!

Masterminds and Daffodils

Attitude of Gratitude, The Inspired Life, Writing

We begin to see, therefore, the importance of selecting our environment with the greatest of care, because environment is the mental feeding ground out of which the food that goes into our minds is extracted.
Napoleon Hill

The Weekend Wrap Up

Napoleon Hill is planted firmly on my mind due to Crystal at BigBrightBulb this week. She has been doing a series on Making a Million with 1000 True Fans, which has been fascinating both in it’s potential for each one of us, and for the discussions it brought forth. Make sure you catch the entire series and don’t miss the comment section! There were some great insights added there as well!

One of the key components of Napoleon Hill’s theories is the idea of building a Mastermind group of like-minded people to brainstorm with, share ideas and discussion and in doing so- build creativity and energy, making the whole of the group much greater than any of the individual parts on their own. I have watched many of the sites listed in my bloglog this week do just that. Many of the discussions, articles and comments have become interwoven and connected, the ideas and feelings creating an energy and a community that is becoming a being that is much greater than its individual parts. We are becoming our own Mastermind! That is a wonderful thing to behold. Take a moment to peek in on the conversations that have been going on and become a part of this wonderful community if you haven’t already. It’s a very friendly and welcoming group!

Speaking of that, you may notice that I have added a new name to the Blogroll this week. Tei over at Rogue Ink has been blogging just about as long as I have and she has some great things going on over there. It seems a little odd to be saying “For a good time, go check out Tei…” but I think it’s pretty accurate. Go over and say hi if you haven’t been there and tell her Wendi sent you.

Poetry Time

I chose this poem this week because the spring flowers are starting to come up in my yard and the first tulips and daffodils have burst into bloom all around me. It’s easier to have faith in doing what I know I should be doing this time of year when I see these amazing flowers emerging from the ground after pushing through the frozen winter ground to find the sun. Whatever the obstacles, we can make our way to springtime.

Thank you for being a part of this community and being a flower in this beautiful garden.

Daffodils – a poem by by William Wordsworth

 I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling leaves in glee;
A poet could not be but gay,
In such a jocund company!
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
 

 
 
 
 
 

Having Faith

leaving a legacy, The creative urge, The Inspired Life, Writing

It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.
-Robert Benchley

It’s a good thing that Robert didn’t find out earlier. What a different world it might have been. Robert Benchley sold his first piece of paid writing in 1914 and his work continues to sell, inspire and entertain to this day.

His son Nathanial Benchley became a well known author of children and teen books and wrote the book The Off-islanders in 1962, which became the motion picture titled “The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming. He received an Academy award nomination for writing the Adapted Screenplay. His novel, Welcome to Xanadu became the 1975 movie Sweet Hostage.

Perhaps younger fans will be most familiar with his grandson, Peter Benchley, author of the famed novel Jaws.

Three generations of authors influencing our history. What would have happened if he had *realized* he had no talent? Would he have inspired his son or his grandson to become writers? How would their lives have been different? How would yours? Where were you the first time you saw that famous shark rise out of the ocean?

Writer’s words change lives. They change other peoples thoughts, they propel people to action. They make us laugh. They make us cry. Sometimes they make us angry.

Or fall in love.

But I’m not a writer-so you say. Maybe you think you have no talent. Maybe you think the words you have bubbling up inside you are words that no one needs to hear? Maybe you never pick up a pen. Maybe you write with spoken words, or paint or dance or modeling clay. But you do have something to say. And if you are holding it in, is it building up inside of you? Maybe you have never paid attention to it before. Listen. You can feel it. It’s that yearning. It’s that pressure that pushes out from inside of you. It wants to go somewhere. It wants to be heard. It needs to be heard.

 We all have a voice and we all have something to say. We all have questions as to the what and the why’s of this world and no-we might not have all the answers, but its ok to write while we are journeying on, working them out together, forming new ideas, hearing new solutions. Sharing our experiences with each other.

Somebody is listening somewhere. Somebody needs to hear what you have already figured out. Somebody needs a hand up, a little help along the way. Or they need to know that you are struggling too, that they are not alone. They need to know that they are not a lone tree falling in the forest. That you are there and will catch them when they fall, that your words will hold them up-because you have been there first. Maybe all you have to say today is great job or I love you, but these can be powerful words too. Don’t underestimate what you have to say. Someone needs to hear it.

But I’m not good enough.-Yes you are. Write from your heart. Write from your soul. Speak the words. Let it out and have faith that somebody is listening. If you are true to what you are feeling, I promise, someone else is feeling it too. None of us are ever truly alone.

But I’m not creative enough- I believe that true creativity comes from letting go. Not pushing it. Not trying too hard to cram all the pieces together. Get empty and see what comes to fill in the space. Say what if…and let the pieces fall into all new places. Don’t hold on to anything, just follow the wave and it will take you places you would never have dreamed of.

But I don’t have time– I don’t think we have time NOT to. Taking the time to formulate our thoughts and feelings, perhaps putting them down on paper or whatever medium we choose is a valuable use of time that grounds us. It highlights our center, our values, our key trouble spots and the secrets that lie within. Whether we are writing for others, or ourselves, these words need an outlet. It isn’t a healthy thing to ignore them while they clamor away for attention like a nagging child inside of us. Ignored for too long, they become sullen, depressed, hidden in the corner, while we become more and more detached from the authentic self that is our true spirit. Get out your pen! Go find yourself! Go listen to what you have to say!

I never know what I think about something until I read what I’ve written on it.
-William Faulkner

I have my grandmother’s stories and poetry. Long gone now, she wrote not for fame or fortune but to be connected to her spirit. She wrote her poems to God. She poured out her questions, cried out her heartache, searched for the answers to the mysteries that defied her.

She was an artistic, creative soul. Lost sometimes in the depth of Bi-polar confusion, she struggled to make sense of the ever-changing world in her mind. Through her stories, through her poetry, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren will always have a glimpse into the brilliance that resided there. She was beautiful. Her writing is her legacy. Did she know we would be listening? One of her poems, written on a Christmas morning was titled “To my Grandchildren.”

WE listen.

Have faith. Write. Write from your heart. Somebody is listening.

 

 

The Garden Gate

family, Healthy Lifestyles, leaving a legacy, self improvement, The Inspired Life, Uncategorized

 

Through the gate is something more. Does it make you wonder? What lies beyond the garden gate? What majesty? What splendor?


Or are you busy rushing by, not taking time to notice. Does every moment have you booked, tick-tock, your time is over….wake up tomorrow, do it again..tick-tock…tick-tock…tick-tock.

Busyness. Rushing around. Fitting it all in. Adding one more thing to the already over loaded to-do list. Juggling all the balls up in the air. Praying, hoping they will just stay up there. Somehow.

God, it’s exhausting.

Where is the balance? Where is the peace and tranquility? Where is the time for creativity, family, laughter?

At the Garden Gate.

At the garden gate, if you choose to open the gate and walk in, you will find the peace you are looking for. You will find the time to spend with family. You can paint. You can play. You can read, You can play ball, go for walks, exercise, whatever you want to do. Go fishing. What do you want to do beyond the gate? What dream have you been putting on hold? It can happen.

You just have to make that choice. Go ahead. Walk through the gate.

But….if I walk through the gate….I won’t have time for………

What? Finish that thought. What are the time wasters that are keeping you from walking through the Garden Gate?

Are you….

Over-promised with commitments that really aren’t that important to you anymore but you don’t know how to get out of?

Over-extended with family and friend obligations that feel like *have-to* events that cut into meaningful family time?

Over-prioritizing unnecessary time-wasters like Internet, computer games, TV that are really just procrastination devices?

Overwhelmed with disorganized habits and clutter that slow you down and cause you to be inefficient with your time?

What others? There are more, many more.

What can we do to get closer to the gate? To open it more often? At least get in for a visit now and then. Maybe hang out on the weekends for starters. Then work our way up to an hour or two every day. After awhile, you may realize a wonderful surprise. It is possible to LIVE in the garden all the time. It can become a lifestyle. It isn’t easy at first, and it takes breaking some habits. But it’s worth it. The garden is a beautiful, peaceful, wonderful place to live where you have time to explore your hobbies and spend time with families and friends, and enjoy long interesting conversations filled with laughter and fun.

Here are a few of the things that our family has done to enjoy more time beyond the Garden Gate.

Turn off the TV. Unless we are enjoying a family night watching a movie together with popcorn and the whole fun deal, the TV isn’t on. No sitcoms, no news, no droning on in the background sucking away our attention. We are free to pay attention to each other and play with each other.

Reduce clutter, get organized This is an on-going challenge. We have been on a mission for the past two years to reduce any and all clutter and unnecessary gadgets and materialistic *stuff* from our lives. Result? Less stuff=less to clean and take care of. Easier ability to organize the important things that we do want to keep. That means more family time to play.

Prioritize value of commitments. We took a hard look at the groups, clubs and meetings we were a part of and started analyzing their value to our family. It was an eye-opener! We began the process of evaluating our commitments differently. Time started showing up right there! This is a constant review that is always being re-evaluated. What are your family values? How do your commitments measure up?

Schedule time for things you want to do. Get your family’s stuff on the calendar FIRST. It is going to be much easier to say  “Oh, I’m so sorry we can’t make it to the 100th birthday party this month, we already have something on the calendar”  when you actually DO have something on the calendar. There isn’t any reason to mention that the calendar says “spend the entire day playing with our family.” Your family is priority number one. AND oh by the way…so are you.

Plan dinner time. Bringing back the family dinner time in the dining room has done more to slow down our lives then all the rest. Planning menus ahead of time, being prepared and having a relaxing, non-rushed dinner with a set table, candles and everyone enjoying conversation has been a wonderful experience. There have been many evenings that we have sat chatting and laughing all the way until bedtime. I strongly recommend the return of candle-lit dining room dinners as often as possible. They are magical!

 

Through the Garden Gate is a simpler time with more focus on getting back to basics, nature, family and good friends. Spending quality time doing the things that are truly important to you, not the things that are on your *should* list or your *I feel guilty so I have to* list. It’s not a life built around keeping up with the latest gadgets and the ‘Jones’ and making sure you are on the right side of the Star-Bellied Sneetches this week. It’s about letting go. Cutting back. Focusing on the Truly Important.

Would you care to join us beyond the Garden Gate? It’s beautiful in here. Come on in…

The Cannoli Tube

self improvement, The creative urge, The Inspired Life

I’m going to share a little secret that I don’t think I’ve ever shared with anyone.

Anyone at all.

I think my life is like a cannoli tube.

Now if you have never had an Aunt Nonni or a mother who makes home-made cannoli, that statement might not make any sense at all, and in fact, even if you do, it still might not. It’s taken me a long time to understand how I turned out to be a cannoli tube, so I expected I would have to go into a little detail for you as well.

The majority of us do not go through life thinking about being tubes. Not cannoli tubes, not tubes of any kind really. We think about being flesh and blood and bones, all filled up to the brim with life’s challenges and daily events. We have our goals and our projects, our kids and our bills, our needs and our wants. A lot of those wants. That can be a long list.

We jump out of bed in the morning already filled up. Stuffed in fact, with all of life’s filling. Overflowing, just like a cannoli, with goo oozing out both ends. Now, there doesn’t have to be anything wrong with that. In fact, I love cannoli. Absolutely one of the best desserts made. As long as its fresh, with a crisp crust and a sweet, creamy cheese filling that has just been piped in for you to enjoy.

But before you can have any wonderful, fresh, delicious cannoli, you have to have a clean and empty tube ready to go, ready to make the crust, ready for action. A perfectly empty vessel just waiting to be filled with the batter that will be the basis for that spectacular gift to your culinary senses.

No cannoli tube- no cannoli.

If your cannoli tube is stuffed full of old dirty gunk, not cleaned out, not ready to do its job- no spectacular cannoli.

If I want to be like a beautiful tasty cannoli- I have to be a ready and willing cannoli tube.

Now I know this is a crazy, off the wall illustration to make my point. This is why it has been a secret for all 48 years of my life.

But when I am at my very best…my very, very best, it is when I have poured myself out, made myself a clean and empty vessel- a tube if you will- gotten rid of all of the negative gunk I can find, stepped outside of myself, put away my agendas and let the good energy powers  work through me. Let Creativity, God, Serendipity all use me for the needs of the day. When I am humble enough to become nothing more than an empty tube, waiting to be filled, I become more than I ever could be alone.

Its crazy. But its also true.

One of the most delicious desserts in the world comes from an empty tube. The most delicious things that I produce in the world happen when I am an empty tube too.

In the Silence are the Answers…

Healthy Lifestyles, self improvement, The creative urge, The Inspired Life, Writing

 

I think I was twelve the first time someone turned to me with hands on their hips, frustrated, ready to rip out their hair and shouted, “Wendi! You know what your problem is??? YOU THINK TOO MUCH!!!”

Oh, OK, then…I’ll just…stop…???

But what if…????

The world is an amazing place. Under every leaf and rock is a whole new world just waiting to be explored and questioned. Taken apart, piece by piece, examined, put back together again with all the pieces topsy-turvy and somewhere new. Creativity is the child of the questions Why and How.  The answer to the why-nots, and the-oh, yes I can’s.

Questions, Questions, Questions. Yes, I can be the Queen of questions. I started asking them at three and never shut up. So I am told. Guilty as charged. I honestly believe that if I have a ‘secret to my success,’ it is the asking of questions and looking for answers.

After all, I am a high school drop out. Twice. But that didn’t mean I had to stay there. I tried going back once and circumstances knocked me off my feet again. So… off to get the GED and on to College. There is always a way around to go get the answers if you really want them. Then there are books. Amazing, wonderful books. If you can read, there is virtually nothing standing in between you and anything you want to know.

And now we have the Godzilla of information…the INTERNET. Oh…we live in a privileged time of answers. What do you want to know? Within moments, the answers can be at your fingertips. Technology, Shakespeare, how to make your first million. Right there…Google can set you free…Ask and you shall receive…glory be…

But there are some answers that can’t come to you with the click of a button. Google can’t answer the nagging little questions bottled up in your spirit. It won’t tell you why you ate that stinking rotten doughnut not ten lousy minutes after you PROMISED yourself you were really going to diet this time FOR REAL. It can try, but it doesn’t know you. It won’t write your next article or tell you why you are procrastinating today. It won’t let you in on why you feel restless or angry and don’t even know why OR why you changed your outfit seven times and swear you gained ten pounds, even when the scale assures you it is only one.

What’s the matter? Why the sudden writer’s block?  The lack of creativity? Why aren’t things working the way you planned them on the goal list? Maybe you haven’t even come up with one? Why not? What are you afraid of? Why the anxiety, the sense of self-defeat? Why the little voice in your ear telling you it’s not enough, that you aren’t enough? Why are the things you say not adding up to the things you do?

There are answers to those questions too. Not on the Internet. Not at school. Not in all the self-help books. Not even here. They are in you. Within you are the answers you seek-if you will take the time to be quiet and listen.

Here are a few of the methods that I use to do this:

Prayer/meditation

Find yourself a very quiet place, get comfortable and make sure that you will not be disturbed. Now I am not going to begin to tell anyone how to pray in any specific religious sense here so please interpret my use of the word to mean whatever spiritual power works for you. What I find to be very powerful is to just have an honest unloading of what is going on, along with the problems and questions that need solutions. I actually do this out loud. If that is too uninhibited for you, try it in your mind. Then be silent. Do your best to calm and relax your mind to have no thoughts at all. I find focusing on a candle helps a lot. With practice, it is amazing how much creativity, answers and solutions come through the silence. It might be a good idea to have a pad of paper close by so you can jot down any great brainstorms as the free flow of ideas loosens up.

Journaling/ reading

The written word has a powerful ability to communicate with us and send us messages we hadn’t seen before, even if we have read the same passage over and over again. Anyone who is a frequent Bible or inspirational book reader can speak of specific quotes that have jumped off of pages and were “just what they needed to hear” at the right time. This can be enhanced by combining it with journaling out specific issues and questions, therefore solidifying certain topics firmly in the mind’s focus. Then picking up random reading, the mind seems to focus on just what it needs to bring you the answer that you were looking for. It may seem magical, but it is a way of communicating with your subconscious, (or God or higher power if you like) which has the answers that you need.

Another journaling tool is to just start free-form writing down everything that enters your head, letting creativity flow, and brainstorming solutions. In the privacy of not having to worry about being wrong, your creativity is freed to open up and explore new ideas and solutions. Promise yourself that you will burn or shred the paper so that you are freed from the constraints of worrying about what you write if that is an issue for you.

Nature/exercise

The solitude of running, walking, boating, camping or any way of communing alone with nature is a wonderful way to seek the answers that you need. While it is true that I have heard of athletes who can get “in the zone” at health clubs enough to feel that sense of meditation, I think it is a rare person who has that kind of focus. Out in nature, one can think and soak up the nature, the beauty and the silence and the world and its problems almost naturally take on a different perspective on its own. It is a wonderful way to use the methods of exploring the asking of questions and then waiting in silence for the solutions. The only drawback that I personally have had with this method is when I have had such great ideas, I have become frustrated due to not being able to run and write at the same time and  by the time I get back, I have lost some of them. When I was training for my first marathon, I carried a little portable recorder for a few of the long runs to record ideas that came to me.

Drawing/painting

Art. Although I also paint landscapes and *things*, when I am in the listening mode, I am more apt to put on some very quiet meditative music and doodle. With pencils or paint, I just let whatever is *in*, come out. I am often very surprised to see what lands there. The intent is to have no pre-conceived idea or plan, just let *it* out. The result of a session like this is usually like an awakening, a feeling of an AHA, then peace.

I highly recommend messy art. It is good for the soul.

I would love to hear how other people listen for their “Inside Voice Answers.”  We all have them, sometimes it’s a matter of how often we are checking in.  How often do you check in? How do you get there? I would love to know. Please give me your thoughts and your methods!