Walk This Way?

Practice gratitude to feel gratitude. There is no other way.

You cannot give it service with your lips and expect to feel it in your heart.

Let’s ask a few interesting What if questions:

What if what you are talking about is what the Universe is giving you in return? Empty words devoid of feeling?

It is easy to read the wisdom books and memorize the correct terms. I have learned from experience that it is much easier to talk the talk than it is to walk the walk. Many times, when we say we know something it means that we understand it intellectually, but knowing something intellectually and actually living that way are two different things.

What if you substituted the word know as in I know what gratitude is, with the word live as in I live that way in everyday life…would the statement still be true for you?

This is what I mean – most people say they know what gratitude is, but do they really?

Intellectually I may know that gratitude means living with a grateful heart, but do I live my life with a grateful heart?

What if I am I pretending to be something I’m not?

People who live with a heart filled with gratitude practice gratitude every day, in every way they can. They know its true value.

They practice it so they can feel it. They share it so they can continue feeling it.

What if, in the words of Aerosmith, we were to Walk this way?

What’s The Point?

Becoming a better version of myself than I was yesterday is a daily practice for me.

That doesn’t mean I’m not worthy now, but the more I know the more I realize there is to know.

It is like I am viewing a picture in a frame, in which I am viewing myself in a picture in a frame, in which I am viewing myself a picture in a frame…and so on…going deeper and deeper into the meaning of self until, at some point, it dissolves into nothing and becomes everything.

Simply, it means is there is always more to discover about yourself if you are willing to look. We can learn something that makes us more compassionate, more honorable, more open to others…a better version of ourselves…every day.

For me, that is the point of the journey as well as its destination.

An elegant mind is grateful that it knows more than it did yesterday and joyful because it knows less than it will tomorrow…

What does your elegant self look like?

Your Prime Motivators

expressyourself

I spend a lot of time saving my own life.  It is easy to fall into a trap and waste a lot of precious time, so I work on it every day.

I have chosen to invest my time into the things that not only save me time and money but also save my energy so I can experience the best that life has to offer me now.

I practice saving precious life-time for the good stuff.

What is the good stuff?  Back in the day, I didn’t have a clue.  For many years I reacted to life.  I wouldn’t have liked to admit it, but I was at the mercy of others.  I took everything to heart and overthought every interaction.  I was always defensive, generally anxious, and easily wounded.  Life was a battleground.  I didn’t live it.  It lived me.

A person can survive this way.  I am living proof.  However, being constantly vigilant… cycling between threat assessment and fight/or flight is no way to thrive.

As loss after loss and wound after wound began to pile up like cordwood, I realized that if I didn’t do something about what was happening, that I would always stay in survivor mode.  I would always be somebody’s victim.

That wasn’t good enough for me. That hateful story sucked. I wanted to be able to tell the story of a life designed to thrive, not merely survive, but I didn’t know how.

I wanted, with all my heart, to know better.  Somehow, deep inside, I knew that thriving truly is the ultimate survival.

Like a drowning person searching for a life preserver, I began looking for answers.  I explored places I wouldn’t normally have looked, listening to people who didn’t think like me or live like me, and in many cases, didn’t look like me.   It was an uncomfortable process that required many years of research and self-inquiry to clarify, but what I found there was worth the price of admission and is truly worth sharing.

Anyone with the ability to think, speak, and act can do this work.

My first step was to establish my prime motivators.  We may not be able to articulate them at this time, but every human being has them.  These are the main drivers of our actions.  They either feed or starve our energy levels.

This meant getting back to the basics and identifying my essential motivational drivers, the reasons why I do what I do when I do it.

As it turns out, my prime motivators are creativity, connection, and community.

What Are Your Prime Motivators?

What gets you so excited about a project that you cannot wait to begin it?
And cannot wait to work on it?
Why do you want to do this thing so badly?
What is the payoff for doing what you do?
What deep urge in you does it satisfy?

Deep down, what truly matters? 

You may find that much of what you value has been instilled by your family or culture. This is your opportunity to clarify what you value as an individual. 

Values are not objectives, they are active, best life practices. 

Your values keep you on your path and become the basis for your personal standard of excellence.  What you value determines your motivation.

The key to this exercise is to not measure what you value by whether it is “right” or “wrong” but to determine how each of these values works with your vision for your best life.

If you were to share the things that inspire, energize and give you a sense of a job well done, what would they be?

Consider the list below.  Circle as many as are applicable to you.  Add your own.  This is your longlist.

Take your time and create a shortlist.  Give your shortlist a lot of consideration as if you needed your 3 prime motivators in order to claim a fantastic gift!  This information offers you the gift of clarity, of knowing yourself better.  It is a gift that keeps on giving.

1. What do you value?

Authenticity        Achievement       Autonomy           Adventure         Balance

Courage              Compassion         Challenge           Connection         Community

Contribution       Commitment       Creativity            Curiosity           Citizenship

Competency       Consistency         Dependability     Discipline          Diligence

Determination    Efficiency           Effectiveness       Education        Elegance

Fairness              Fitness                 Faith                  Fame                      Fun

Friendship        Good humor      Growth               Grit                       Happiness

Honesty              Health                Influence            Integrity               Innovation

Ingenuity            Justice                Kindness             Knowledge          Loyalty

Leadership          Learning             Love                   Motivation          Mentorship

Openness            Optimism            Peace                 Popularity            Passion

Perseverance      Positivity            Reliability            Recognition      Religion

Reputation          Respect              Responsibility      Tenacity             Spirit

Security              Service               Spirituality          Self-respect         Stability

Success              Status                Trustworthiness   Wealth                Wisdom

Wellness             Wellbeing

2. Create your longlist. I suggest writing them on a separate piece of paper.  The act of writing them out helps you to get your thoughts in order.  Although many of the values listed above may apply, I suggest keeping this list to 20 items.

3. Create your shortlist:

1._______________________________

2._______________________________

3._______________________________

4._______________________________

5._______________________________

6._______________________________

7._______________________________

8._______________________________

9._______________________________

10.______________________________

4. Check your shortlist and group similar values together. Our values often fall into the following 7 categories.  These may be helpful as you choose your top 3.

Social             Family                Personal Development           Financial

Career            Physical              Spiritual

5. My Prime Motivators:

1.____________________________

2.____________________________

3.____________________________

 

I am a fan of the work of entrepreneur Tom Bilyeu.  His podcasts, Impact Theory and Health Theory are truly worthy of your precious time.  In the recent Mindvalley talk below, Tom offers us a dazzling masterclass on how to invite others to listen, incite them to embrace change, and inspire them to action!  In a masterful demonstration of excellence in motivating others as well as public speaking, Tom cusses a couple of times, but that’s Tom and they fit.

Without a doubt, this man knows what drives him and uses this understanding to his best advantage.  Consider, as you watch this, how Tom’s prime motivators have been the genesis of his off-the-chart success.

Forget The Good And Remember The Bad?

Human beings have a tendency to recognize and remember the threatening things in life because back in the day it could have been life-threatening.

The ancient part of our brain still gets triggered easily. If you consider criticism as being like the situation where Grog from the other tribe of cavemen began talking trash and was threatening to club your lights out…for real

Criticism = Grog’s club

You’d better remember Grog.

And failure as being like you zigging instead of zagging while being chased by a saber-toothed tiger and by your failure to outrun him (like those gazelles on nature shows) and you became his lunch…for real…you can see how this evolved.

Failure = You becoming lunch

You’d better remember that tiger.

We call it negativity bias.

The modern-day threat may not be to your life…it may not even be real in any way…but consider your body as being neutral. It responds to (and stores) the thoughts you give it.

Many of us live in a never-ending loop of threat assessment and fight or flight response. It takes on a life of its own by stealing ours.

This reaction is always a reaction to memories. Memories are recollections of past events…always.

Good thing we are no longer cavemen. We now know about negativity bias, and can act otherwise.

With other-wisdom.

Is the glass half empty?
Or is the glass half full?
But it’s a glass…isn’t a glass refillable?

And more important than any of these

keep in mind that there is more than one damn glass…

Check out this exceptional talk by social psychologist Alison Ledgerwood for further insight:

Practically Uncivilized – Chats With My Constant Traveller

I met a wild woman yesterday.  A woman with fire in her eyes and an unquestionably wicked grin.  The kind who offers a firm hand, a quick peruse, and a thorough greeting.

She doesn’t give a crap if her towels are not lined up on the shelf in her bathroom, or if her bloomers match her brassiere.  In fact, she may have decided that today is the day that she doesn’t wear either.  She’s as comfortable chillin’ in her jammies as she is commanding the stage in her power suit.  As confident soft-loving her partner as she is litigating in a courtroom…or flexing her muscles on a world stage.

This woman has run the gauntlet and survived.  It is an activity that she has long since given up, but she is not inclined to brag.  Instead, she models her disdain for such barbarous convention by not engaging in its proliferation.

Her strength may be intimidating.  Or it may invigorate.  She has learned to work the rule book for the very purpose of knowing when to throw it away.  Don’t ask her a question unless you are comfortable with her answering you.

Either way, she doesn’t give an F… what you or I think.

This wild woman may not know me, but I know her clan.  We are kith because she resides in the most tender, meaty parts of every woman alive.

The parts that are feral.  Fierce.  Practically uncivilized.

Flashes of Brilliance

My flashes of brilliance have been tattoed on my memory.  Great-white pulses that sliced through the chatter and stunned me to silence, their shock waves so intense that I had no choice but to pay attention.

Yep, flashes can be a tad disruptive.  Back then, it was the only way my Constant Traveller could get my attention – even as I stumbled along in awkward silence, dazzled and confused, she made me yearn for more.

I think of it like a beach ball being held under water.  The effervescent creativity that is innate in a balanced human being who is confident in her abilities bursts through in moments when we are caught unaware.  I caught glimpses of my own when I let down my guard.

Those were the days…when I viewed my deficiencies as more important than my abilities by the attention that others paid to them.  What I valued, what I found delight in and would engage in as a young person for hours and hours, was metered out under the rules of limited acceptability:

I could be a lover of literature, but only of another’s work;
I could be a lover of music, but only of another’s compositions;
I could think grand thoughts, but only in the tradition of the Masters.
I could dream as long as my wildest, most disruptive dreams remained in Dreamland.
In those days, real life meant giving up my extraordinary dreams.

In those days, I lived my wholehearted agreement.  It took me more than a few decades to learn how to elegantly disagree.

In Big Magic, author Elizabeth Gilbert speaks of the point in our society when being a genius became more valid than having genius inside of you.  That was a very sad day for humankind.

A test developed by Dr. George Land for NASA to determine the creative ability of their scientists and engineers, and administered to 1600 4 to 5-year-olds – revealed that a shocking 98% tested in the genius category for imagination.  However, by the time these same children were tested as 10-yr-olds, only 30% now fell into the genius category.  Tested as 15-yr-olds, the percentage plummeted to 12%.

Dr. Land also tested a lot of adults.  By the time we are adults…only 2% have retained our creative genius. 

I believe that may be the most tragic statement ever written.

 

What the F…?

What this research has revealed is that parents, family, and society as a whole have not provided the tools with which to nurture extraordinary.  In fact, we have been taught to consider the divergent, the outlier, the creative, the wild… as, at our most benign, an eccentric, and at our most potent…a threat...to relationships, family structure, and civilized society.

What could a culture founded on obedience and conformity teach but conformity?  How can a society based on ordinary values demonstrate the value of extraordinary?

Those who hold special as sacred may be the most seriously mystified, as they unwittingly empower the aspects of human development that limits genius from expressing itself.  They, in their zeal, know not what they do.

Deep waters…

A couple of years ago, I had a dream where I was floating in a prone position, traveling feet-first on an ocean.  I was full-body immersed in its dark evening surf.  Looking back I could see the lights of the colorful tropical island from which I came grow smaller and smaller.  The water surrounding me was calm, dark, and deep.  As a general rule, deep water scares the crap out of me, but this time I was cool with it.  Looking forward, between my toes, I could see a shadow-land coming into view.  It was dark, but I could tell that this land was vast, with towering mountains that rose in ebony contrast against an ever lightening sky.

I was content to let those waters take me.

Growing up, I felt like I was forced to fit into a society that didn’t fit me, or my dreams.  In those days, I agreed to speak the words of my dead ancestors – some words of love and kindness, certainly, but what I remember most were the words of ignorance and fear, especially when it came to those who weren’t like us.  I accepted other people’s visions, walked their paths, and dreamed other people’s dreams.  I believed my dreams were not as worthy as those who were revered by my clan.

I walked for decades in dead man’s shoes, not even dead women’s shoes.  I was so insulated and ignorant that I was not even aware of the pain of those who walked beside me.  So concerned with keeping in step with the clan, or running to catch up when they threatened to leave me behind, that I couldn’t see the suffering at my fingertips.

The voyage has been eye-opening, for sure. I have come a long way from believing that walking to the beat of a different drummer is an insult.  It is the Nobel Prize for Dreamers!

Our 2% Wild Ones

It takes an extraordinary dreamer, one who dares to dream, who is willing to push away from the shore and venture into unknown waters – confident and content to be carried by the current to an unknown shore – one who is willing to take on the role of a castaway.  A wild heart who understands that, at some point, the willful castaway inevitably becomes the resourceful explorer who brings the fruits of her explorations back to the clan.  One who is willing to draw the map for others to follow and isn’t afraid to dance with delight when they offer their unique revisions and expansions…

She offers herself to others through full-body immersion in her Mother’s Nature, blending the elemental taste of the ashes of her former self with the firestorm of her effervescent personal genius.

We, as women, have a lot to overcome.  It is time for fierce and feral wild ones to bare their teeth, not in aggression, but in a wicked grin that equals any man’s.  A wicked grin that teaches our daughters and sons to value their dreams, as well.

Through our instruction, this precious resource…our genius 98%...our future…can learn to value the wonders of their nature and safely deliver those sacred gifts into adult life.

I am certain that I met a few 2% wild ones yesterday.  Let’s show them what it means to be practically uncivilized.

 

To You? Or Through You? – Chats With My Constant Traveller

Dream job.  Dream house.  Dream vacation.  Dream life.  How to do I bring these dreams to life?  Wouldn’t it be cool if, instead of anticipating the “dream” we lived it every day?  There are folks who do.

I’m unstoppable because I’ve decided I am. – Tony Robbins

This morning, around 5am, I began an interesting chat with my Constant Traveller.  She asked, Does creativity come to you, or through you? 

I have learned, through experience, that it is much easier to speak about what I know than to live from that knowing.  It is humbling to admit that there are times when my actions speak so loudly that others cannot hear what I am saying.

Every one of us is an example for someone.  That we may not seek it, or even welcome it, or care, doesn’t matter.  Regardless of our interest in this pursuit, we will experience its results.  Like it or not, we live in a world of cause and effect.

Creativity, as I define it, is being open to possibilities.  Elegant.  Simple.  Engaging.

Creativity comes to you…

Creativity comes to us when we seek it.  We enjoy the work of elegant, interesting authors and poets, attend book signings, discuss their work in book clubs.  We contemplate and study the theories and ideas and conclusions of elegant and interesting minds.  We appreciate the skills of elegant, interesting actors and directors as we watch their films.   We enjoy the masterpieces of elegant, interesting composers, singers, and musicians.  We attend art galleries and exhibits, or search online for elegant, interesting visual art – painting, sculpture, architecture, fashion, and other objets d’art.

Every day, we are presented with the effects of other people’s creativity.  For many of us, that is enough.  We are content to talk about the work of others, read the work of others, listen to, sing, or play the songs of others…experiencing an aspect of their creative genius by our vicarious expression of it.

There is nothing wrong with vicarious expression.  Every person alive stands on the shoulders of giants.  Every student needs a teacher.  Celebrating their genius can serve to make us masters in domains of which we may never have dreamed prior to their example.

However, my Constant Traveller invited me to explore further.  I have learned that I ignore her voice at the peril of my best life.

Creativity comes through you…

Consider how a child learns to run.  They progress from struggling to sit to learning to crawl (or booty-scoot, depending on the kid), to pulling themselves into a standing position, to taking their first few steps, to learning how to run.  At some point, generally around 12-15 months, our bottle-sucking, blanket dragger becomes a little speed demon.

How many parents remember that first wicked grin of mastery?  That chortle of delight when our child realized he was speedy?  Our happiness-tinged fear for her safety when she demonstrated that the rules of the game were now changed?

Folks, guess what?  At one time, perhaps way back in the day, that wicked grinner, that delighted chortler, that game changer…was you.

It still is, but somewhere along the way, we have forgotten how to run.

Am I elegant and interesting?

Creativity comes to us all in the form of other people’s creative genius.  When we choose to appreciate their story and express their composition, are we, essentially, smiling at the memory of our own wicked grin?  Laughing with delight along with those who dream up the reason to laugh?  Cheering for the one who expresses his Andre Degrasse brilliance?

No matter how fast a baby can run there are very few adults, no matter how disappointed and disenchanted, who could not run faster than a little kid…if they choose to do so.  Somewhere along the way did we leave the wicked grinning, delighted, laughing little speed demon behind?

Feeling that quickening when we act from a WOW! moment of inspiration brings on the wicked grin.  Contributing to the flow of a truly funny conversation inevitably brings the chortle of delight.  Allowing our personal creative expression to come through us on the pin-point of now demonstrates that we are still that game changer.

Creativity is being open to possibilities in elegant, effervescent expression.  It is when we dip our toes into our personal wellspring of possibilities that we begin to imagine the best version of ourselves.

Your best life can only be expressed through your creativity.  You owe it to yourself to bring those gifts to life – welcoming them to you and sharing them through you.

What if your dream job, your dream house, your dream vacation…your dream life, is being experienced right now by those who dared to dream?

Who do you think you are?  In the realm of possibilities, there is always room for one more…

Friend, when was the last time you ran?

Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are.  Let me learn from you, love you, savor you, bless you before you depart.  Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. – Mary Jean Irion

 

Something Coloured Beautiful – Chats With My Constant Traveller

What would it mean to you to live from a fearless place of creativity and inspiration?  To jump out of bed every morning, totally grateful and excited to begin another day on this side of the grass?  It would mean living from your passion.

What does living from your passion mean?

Living from your passion means finding the courage to examine the obstacles that are holding you back from living your best, most elegant life.  It means finding a creative way to not only make peace with your past but celebrating how far you’ve come and how much you’ve learned since then.

It means giving yourself every chance with every breath to start again.

It means doing a little time traveling – going back and reuniting with your first (or perhaps only) child – the one inside you.

It means bringing that child with you to live where you live now and giving that child permission to be curious and excited and silly…and happy.  This is serious play – to learn to play all over again as an adult…for some of us, this could be playing for the first time in decades.

It means summoning the spirit of an explorer and boldly going where no “you” may have gone before because this will involve examining the values and beliefs with which you negotiate the world.

Right this moment, would you give over total control of your entire life to a 9-yr old child?  Even if that was your 9-yr old self?

Research in human development has discovered that the values and beliefs with which we negotiate the adult world were set firmly in place by the time we were 9-yrs old.  The 9-yr old has searched and found answers to such questions as:

Who loves me?  Who cares what I think?  May I ask for what I need?  What are my talents?  My strengths and weaknesses?  Am I smart?  Capable?  Athletic? Creative?

But the most important question that gets answered by our 9-yr old self is, Am I enough just the way I am?

Every choice and decision, from that moment on, is weighed and measured by our conclusions about how the world works.  We have decided, with our 9-yr old child’s brain, how the world is and these beliefs have formed the basis for our adult lives. 

It would stand to reason that if, as an adult, we haven’t explored our values and beliefs in a manner that allows us to determine if they are what we truly believe or if they were handed to us by our parents, our family, and our society, can we truly say they are ours?  And more important, how do we know if they serve us at this stage in our lives?

What if there is a more inspired way to negotiate the world?

That is one of the many reasons that I wrote Saving Your Own Life: Learning to Live Like You Are Dying.  I decided to take responsibility for my life off of the shoulders of my 9-yr old self.  I decided to become, in a creative way, my own mother and father and give myself the things that a nurturing mother and a guiding father would give me. I learned to nourish and love and support my eldest child…and to let that kid be a kid.

The Saving Your Own Life process evolved out of necessity.  In a little over 10 years, I experienced the deaths of 15 friends and family, including my mom and dad.  I used my creativity to help me heal.  I opened myself to mind-sparks of inspiration from many sources – reading the works of teachers like Dr. Wayne Dyer, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Alan Watts, Thich Nhat Hanh, Viktor Frankl, and Carl Jung; I received inspiration when I talked with others; but most of all, when I became quiet and listened to the inner voice of inspiration that revealed itself when I opened my mind and my heart, through creative writing.

Creativity, as I define it, is being open to possibilities.  It is that simple.  It is enough right now to simply consider the possibility that you don’t know what you don’t know.

Are you willing to discover something new about yourself?

Because I love and live through my own passion, I can say without a shadow of a doubt, that your playful inner child is waiting to reunite with you.

How do I know?  Because I am no different than you.  You are no different than me.  Creativity and inspiration are our birthrights as human beings!  We are worthy of this wonder simply by being born!

There is a choice to be made – you must be willing to adopt the mindset of a beginner – to become a student of diverse teachers, of other people, of the world, but most of all, of your own life.

There are wonderful, joyful, exciting things to be learned from your own life!  Your own life is Your Ultimate Teacher.

Many people believe that they are not creative.  This is the first door you must open in order to begin.  Consider the possibility! Think what if?

I love this quote from actor Sarah Jones – Hurt people hurt people, but guess what?  Free people free people.

Creative people are free. When we are creative, we are the freest we will ever be.  We owe it to ourselves to bring that gift to life.

Do you know anyone who would not simply like, but deeply LOVE, to create Something Coloured Beautiful today?