Monthly Archives: April 2015

Week 37 – Little Bits of Sequence

Hope you are enjoying a beautiful Monday, Celebrationists!

  1. I am grateful for the chance to have witnessed many dear friends perform for a great cause, this evening  photo 3

2.  I am grateful for this morning’s visit to the Dali museum, with people I think the world of.

3.  I am grateful for the wonderful experience of working with these kiddos, on Sunday:

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I never thought I would write a post that had anything to do with math.

I would actually classify math as one of my top ten least favorite things to ever think about – even though I’m perfectly aware that math is everywhere, and that I’m unconsciously dealing with it all the time, in everything.

Maybe it’s math problems that I take issue with…I mean, they are problems. I certainly have problems with them. And as a little girl, the only kind of sequence I wanted to hear anything about was the kind judiciously sprinkled on some of my dresses (clearly this was also before I recognized that this kind of sparkle is actually sequins), but I digress.

While at the Dali museum this morning, I was reacquainted with The Fibonacci sequence, which Dali used in his work.  At first, hearing that phrase brought back many fraught memories of making boxes with my little blue ruler in grade school math class, and feeling like my spirals were never perfect enough. Thankfully, the memories made today outshine those old ones…

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Inside the Dali museum…isn’t it incredible?

This sequence has been used in music, architecture, and occurs in many areas of nature, such as: the petals of many flowers, pineapples, pinecones, seed heads, other fruits and vegetables, tree branches, hurricanes, galaxies, and even the human body.  It is fascinating of course because we find bits of that sequence all over the place without our realizing it, and we are unconsciously attracted to the order and harmony of the pattern.

Thinking about these naturally repeating arrangements – that are present in so many places whether we are aware of them or not, stirred up the following lateral thought in me:

All the things we wish we were, all the things we want so badly to accomplish…what if those qualities and accomplishments already exist, too? And here’s the thing. I think they do. Let me explain.

Let’s say that you and I are in a room together… a toy store, actually – very colorful.  And you give me ten seconds to memorize everything in the room that is yellow. Then I close my eyes, prepared to rattle off my list of toys and fun gadgets with yellow parts.  But when I close my eyes, instead you say, “Ok, tell me everything in the room that is pink.” Pink? I can’t remember anything in the room that was pink (though in a toy store I could surmise that there are probably barbies present). If I’m feeling particularly defensive I might say that there is nothing pink in the room, and push harder to share my list of yellow items, which I worked really hard to log away.

None of this changes the fact that there is plenty of pink in the room, I just wasn’t looking for it.  I didn’t notice it.

So very often I think….the opportunities we have been looking for may be closer than we think. The people we may need to meet could be right under our noses if we would open our eyes and hearts and lead with love. The things we want to become are already inside us waiting to be unlocked. Even if we’ve made choices or behaved in ways that seem contrary to who we want to become…that doesn’t mean that patience, compassion – whatever we are trying to develop, isn’t still available in us. It could be right there, staring us straight in the face, and we just aren’t aware of it.

I think about how many times I’ve eaten pineapple. If you had told me when I was little that there was anything mathematical about the outside of that fruit, I probably would have spit it out in your face, and never touched it again. Well not really, but the image of my young self doing that is really amusing to me. The point is, I’ve seen hundreds of pineapples probably, and for many years never knew that the outside of it had any relation to the studies of a guy named Fibonnaci. But it did. It does.  I just never thought about it. What else is right in front of our noses and we just don’t see it, or know about it yet?

Think about it:

  • The best friend you wish you had may be someone you already see every day, you just haven’t felt brave enough to strike up a conversation yet
  • That job you long for exists somewhere in the world. Right now. You just have to find it! Or create it
  • That open-mindedness you want so badly to cultivate is already inside you! Have you ever been open-minded about ANYTHING? Once? You have? Then you’ve GOT it! All you need to do is find ways to turn that naturally occurring beauty into a habit. Same with patience, or confidence, or anything else

Naturally occurring harmony may be right under our noses all along. We just need to be open to seeing it. Join me this week Celebrationists as I work to keep my eyes open. To notice the details. To not believe the lie we sometimes tell ourselves that “everything is hard, attaining our heart’s desire is near to impossible, and life is full of insurmountable problems.” Unless they are math problems. Then that is totally true, for some of us… ; )

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Kris Carr always knows just what to say

 

Until next week, Celebrationists!

Week 36 – Little Bits of Success

Happy Monday, Celebrationists!

Hope your weekend was as lovely as mine, or even better : )

1.) I am grateful for this day off – spent with a delightful, fascinating, beautiful new friend.

2.) I am grateful for the opportunity to bear witness to the reading of a magnificent adaptation of a play – adapted and performed by a friend I could not respect, honor, appreciate, and care for, more.

3.) I am grateful for the opportunity to do THIS , on Sunday:

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the word success, and what it even means. I’ve also been having some meaningful conversation with a friend (from gratitude statement #1) about this concept, so it seems timely to write about.

A month or so ago, my therapist asked me, “What does success look like for you, do you think?”

For someone who engages in an awful lot of self-reflection, I found myself pausing, opening my mouth, and shutting it again.

During my freshman year of college, we had an assignment to write about the way we wanted our lives to look once we graduated from college. Probably we could write about anything –  career goals of course, but also things like marriage, our ideal living situation, and family. But my essay was 100% career based. Those other things could not be further from my mind. I wrote about these dreams in a detailed way that dictated pretty specifically what success would look like for me. And I realize now that for all the soul-searching I do, I haven’t allowed myself much check-in time to examine how much any of that has changed.

I think we live in a culture that places high value on things like celebrity, finding the ideal life partner, making a certain amount of money…and it can be easy to feel like our dreams for our life need to be in line with some of these very large American aspirations of always wanting more. We’re almost afraid to be happy in the lives we have, or don’t celebrate our current successes because we may feel like they aren’t big enough. That because many people don’t see them, or we aren’t recognized in a highly public way, that our successes don’t matter. Or that what we really want may not leave a big enough mark on the world.

But again, what is success? What does your success look like?  Maybe it’s:

  • Being on Broadway
  • Having a starring role in a feature film
  • Running your own successful business
  • Opening a restaurant
  • Becoming a doctor
  • Publishing a novel
  • Owning a home

Or maybe it’s something like:

  • Starting a family of your own when the time is right for you
  • Doing work that you love, and only work that you love
  • Finding a community of people who support and love each other, and feeling like you contribute positively to that group
  • Raising a happy child
  • Traveling the world and exploring new places
  • Living alone and owning a dog (or cat)
  • Finishing a degree in something you feel passionately about

What is it that you actually want? What really makes your soul sing? If you haven’t thought about it in awhile…I invite you to : )

If you look around at your life and think “Well this isn’t where I thought I would end up,” I would first like to send you this hug, from me – *HUG*, and say this: my wish for you is that you’ll allow yourself a moment to acknowledge the successes you’ve already had. Because you have had successes. Also to consider this definition of success: the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals. Your success can mean anything you want it to.

And probably your current life is already somebody’s definition of success.

I hope you’ll consider joining me this week as I re-examine my own views about success, and what it looks like. I invite you to throw away your old measuring stick, and to ignore the measuring sticks of every other human on this planet – because theirs have nothing to do with you. I hope you’ll join my in considering your FULL life, not just one part of it. And realizing that whatever your success is – you’re probably further along than you think you are.

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Week 35 – Little Bits of Basic Goodness

Hope you are about to enjoy another great Monday, Celebrationists!

Today…

1.) I am grateful for a wonderful opening weekend of Harvey, and for the incredibly kind cast, crew, and sponsors who make it such a joy to come to work every day.

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2.) I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this reading tonight, at the Dali Museum.

3.) I am grateful for the WhatsApp app, which has made it possible for me to talk to my dear friend Jerome while he is in London…is that redundant to say – WhatsApp app?

Today I’m eager to share some thoughts about what I’d like to call Basic Goodness. This is a bit of a companion piece to last week’s post on Enoughness.

Do you ever give up on yourself a little? (Or a lot?) Do you ever engage in self-destructive behaviors because you feel, on some conscious or subconscious level like your personal progress is pretty hopeless? Or you get so disgusted with yourself that you almost don’t care after awhile, allowing yourself to be defined by negative behaviors? Claiming that it’s “just the way I am,” and owning it?

Maybe you disappointed yourself because you:

  • lost your temper
  • felt jealous
  • behaved irresponsibly
  • were dishonest
  • were unkind
  • started or contributed to gossip
  • were a procrastination station
  • got in your own way
  • behaved selfishly
  • fell into an old pattern/habit that you’ve been wanting to change
  • Etc.

And maybe as a result of repeatedly doing these things, you’ve formed some limiting beliefs abut yourself, like:

  • lost your temper (Oh I’m just a person who has a short fuse! Watch out, world!)
  • felt jealous (I never have enough/what I deserve compared to other people)
  • behaved irresponsibly (I’m always horrible with _______(insert word of choice: money, relationships, etc.)
  • were dishonest (I’m a horrible human and don’t even trust myself)
  • were unkind (I’m a jerk-face (or other word of choice) with no self control)
  • started or contributed to gossip (I’m so miserable and insecure that I can’t think of anything better to say)
  • were a Procrastination Station (I’m irresponsible and never do anything on time)
  • got in your own way (I’m not worthy of having what I say I want)
  • behaved selfishly (I’m the center of my universe, and I’m a terrible human )
  • fell into an old pattern/habit that you’ve been wanting to change (I’m not worthy of positive change)
  • or any of the other countless possibilities…

I think it is SO EASY to take on limiting beliefs about who we are at our core, when we fall off the bandwagon. And we are going to fall off the bandwagon. So how do we cope? How to we take responsibility, without defining ourselves by these human failings?  How do we remember our basic goodness, in these moments?

In previous posts I’ve mentioned Pema Chordon, who I just love. There’s this image she uses in her book Comfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion

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The image I love is: a jewel that has been buried for millions of years in the earth. Though it has been lodged beneath the dirt, probably surrounded by bugs, encased in mud – those conditions haven’t changed the jewel’s true form. It’s still what it is – the same  gorgeous stone it was when it was glistening in the sunlight.

What if we could see ourselves like this? Yes, we sometimes find ourselves in the nasty muck of jealousy, unkindness, or selfishness…but what if we trusted that at our CORE, at the center of who we are, is this glowing goodness that is ready to come out whenever we are ready remember it?  I want to share with you this exact passage of Pema’s, because she says it much more eloquently than I ever could. Even if you don’t know a thing about Buddhism, don’t recognize a word or two, or have never been remotely interested in checking out a Buddhist text in your life…I think there’s still a lot to be taken from this passage…I’ve “bolded” the parts I’m especially obsessed with…

“Bodhichitta is a Sanskrit word that means “noble or awakened heart.” Just as butter is inherent in milk, and oil is inherent in a sesame seed, the soft spot of bodhichitta is inherent in you and me.  It is equated, in part, with our ability to love.  No matter how committed we are to unkindness, selfishness, or greed, the genuine heart of bodhichitta cannot be lost.  It is here in all that lives, never marred and completely whole.

…Based on a deep fear of being hurt, we erect protective walls made out of strategies, opinions, prejudices, and emotions. Yet just as a jewel that has been buried in the earth for millions of years is not discolored or harmed, in the same way this noble heart is not affected by all the ways we try to protect ourselves from it. The jewel can be brought into the light at any time, and it will glow as brilliantly as if nothing had ever happened.”

I remember getting really emotional the first time I read this passage.  Never marred, and completely whole.  Wow. Think about that for a second.

So the next time we don’t live up to our highest hopes for ourselves, maybe we can try to take responsibility for our mistakes without lingering there. Without allowing those experiences to build up and define us.  Just because we’ve behaved in a certain way doesn’t mean we are that behavior. It doesn’t change the fact that we are still beautiful jewels, and our goodness is waiting to shine again as soon as we’re ready to let it.

Have a great week, Celebrationists!

Week 34 – Little Bits of Enoughness

Hope your Monday has been great, Celebrationists!

Today…

1.I am grateful for the invention of FaceTime. I don’t use it very often, but there are moments like this morning, when I was so happy to drink my coffee outside and talk to/SEE my wonderful boyfriend, who is many states away. Or the other night when I had a FaceTime date with my dog (…and family) in Ohio.

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2. I am grateful for Hooker Tea’s Ginger Peach Iced Tea

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3. ) I am grateful for the lovely Sylvia Rusche who has generously opened her home to me for the next month. Her graciousness, compassion, and selflessness are truly inspiring.

This evening I’ve been musing about the sensation that most of us have experienced at one point or another, of needing to prove ourselves. To prove to someone (maybe most especially to ourselves) that we are good enough to belong, to contribute, and to be valued in a particular situation.

My father has the best work ethic of anyone I know. And if there is anything about myself that I take pride in, it’s the tireless work ethic I learned from him. Especially work that I feel passionately about, and choose to throw my full energy into. (My back massages are my other point of pride – ask, if you haven’t had one ; )  But whether you are working hard and giving a situation your all or not, have you ever been struck with certainty that whatever you are doing, creating, or offering is totally inferior, not special enough, or even embarrassing? I think the end result of those feelings can manifest in different ways for different people, but can be things like:

  • Underplaying/down-playing the work we’ve done
  • Refusing to accept a compliment
  • Making self-deprecating remarks
  • Over-the-top displays of self-assurance or pride
  • Pushing ourselves to unreasonable limits
  • Engaging in self-loathing

I can think of so many situations where I didn’t feel insert word of choice – enough to “be there.” Feeling like I have to work EXTRA hard just to achieve what appears to me to be the bare minimum in a situation.

I think many of us struggle with Imposter-syndrome, right? The feeling that one day we’re going to be “found out,” for not being as brilliant, wonderful, talented – whatever it is, as some people seem to think we are.  And so that little voice inside reminds us (in a perfectly friendly way, even though that voice is a terrible mean-head voice) that we need to work harder, longer, faster, and prove that we matter. Prove that we have a place. Prove that we are deserving. When really…we just are. We do. Already.

I know. That’s hard stuff. I struggle with it constantly.

Ok. Look at these little guys.

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I saw them the day before Easter, waddling around being adorable in a pen in downtown St. Petersburg, alongside some equally adorable bunnies, bringing the perfect amount of Easter weekend cheer. They aren’t trying to be anything. They aren’t trying to be cute. They aren’t trying to be ducklings. They aren’t trying to be yellow. They just show up as themselves. And people LOVE them. Seriously – the amount of picture taking, cooing, and overall ogling was really extensive! And why not? Look at them!

It can be so hard to look at ourselves this way. To realize that by being who we were created to be (while still working hard and cultivating our talents of course) but by just showing up as we are – we already have so much going for us – SUCH unique traits that we bring to the table right out of the gate! And when we fall into the right places, with the right people…we have NOTHING to prove. There will always be people who don’t get or prefer what we’re offering, or might look at that photo above, wrinkle their nose and say “I don’t like those.” But does it mean that those little guys are bad at being ducklings? That they should “work harder” or change themselves, or try to be bunnies?

I hope you’ll join me this week Celebrationists, in exploring your own enough-ness. And maybe reminding somebody else of theirs. Those little ducklings have nothing to prove to anyone. And neither do we : )

Until next week!

*HUG*