Daily Writing Series: My Strengths & Weaknesses

This too some time and pondering.  Really had to dig deep inside and find a bit of courage and vulnerability to recognize both my strengths and weaknesses.

What is always so curious is wen you notice how your weakness tends to be just a reverse of your strength.  For me, it’s people.

I love people.  While I am more an “ambivert” (in between introvert & extrovert), being able to help, learn from, and communicate with people is something I am both good at and enjoy doing.  Connecting with other souls is part of my very very being.

Yet, with that deep love of connection, comes the flip side of the coin which is not as pretty.

The need to feel validated, wanted, significant, attaching other people’s opinions to my self worth.  None of which are bad in moderation.  But it wouldn’t be a weakness if I were already taking them in moderation. 😉

Ever since I was old enough to sense and understand the energy and emotions of people around me, I’ve struggled with people pleasing.  The rational was: “if I can make them happy, then they will like me.”

What I never bothered to take in to consideration was the tole that puts on myself to maintain putting everyone before me.  And the unfair judgement I cast at others because I did not stand up for myself.

The journey to “curing” myself of this need to be accepted has been hard.  Even now I catch myself doing or saying things just so I won’t stir the pot or upset people.  There days where it’s hard to control the need for significance.

Then there are other days where I am able to throw all that ego stuff out the window and deeply connect with others because I WANT to know them and understand them.  And ultimately help them if it’s a fit.

In those moments, I don’t worry if they think what I say sounds out of this world, or if my honesty is overly straight forward, or if my look affects what they think of me.

The biggest difference between when I feel lacking and needy vs confident and strong, is that I acknowledge my own needs first, then step outside of my ego.

The Power of Saying No

Today we like to say we are “accepting” of who others are, when in reality, we like when they start doing things our way.

Of course, that is a major generalization. But it is a problem nonetheless. You have to start giving ourselves the time of day.

Stand up for what YOU want.

There are a lot of polarizing forces in our world right now, economic, social, politics, and business shifts.  Media, whether it’s from ‘the giants’ or social platforms, we are being bombarded with opinions ranging from what style of makeup is “acceptable” to who we should vote for or how one should parent their child, which religion they should be part or (or not).  

How do we sort through this clamour of voices and find our?

The world is shouting “be YOU!” while simultaneously tell you how to go about being “YOU!”

Time for us to reclaim our lives.  Stop catering to the opinions of others.  At the end of our lives no one else will feel our regrets as painfully as we do.  

So take time to push the noise aside.  Start saying NO. The more you say it, the easier it becomes.  

NO, that’s not who I care to vote for. NO, I choose to wear this. NO, I will live my life… On my terms.  And by “My terms” — I mean that I will decide what is okay and not okay.

Set your own standards, then stand up for them.  

The Glamorization of The Starving Artist

Artists don’t tend to earn a lot. This is a pretty common notion. Whether you’re a writing, painter, dancer, whatever form of art you create and bring to the world, there are few and far between who are making it a solid living.

But that’s not the point of this article.

We are not going to talk about the money mindset. That’s a long conversation with personal beliefs based on your life experiences, best left for in-person coffee chats.

What I want to address are those of you, yes you might be one reading this, how glamorize the “starving artists.”  Those that think anyone who makes a life out of their art is a “sell out.”

If you don’t want to make a living from your art, that’s fine.  For some people, art is just a hobby.  It does not make you less of a “pro” artists because you aren’t profiting.  Being a pro has nothing to do with the money.  It has to do with you sitting your butt down and doing a work.  No matter if you profit or not from it.

That does not make people who ARE making money from their art, sell-outs though.

This notion that we should glamorize being a “poor artist” is not inspiring. It’s not funny. It’s downright belittling for artists who are out their striving to be their best version.

No other industry glamorizes the fact that they are not making money.  We don’t need to do that as artists.  Acting like you think it’s bad that others are making money, and constantly bragging that you are not is completely distracting you from DOING THE WORK.

Being a full-time artist is scary, hard work, and many times not profitable due to the fact that many artists frankly don’t understand how to build a tribe (which is another topic;)).  This isn’t a walk in the park.

Selling out would be more like creating art that you hate purely so you can sell it.  Not because you enjoyed it, not because you wanted to create good art for the world.  That is selling out.

But wanting to make money from art is not selling out.

So, let’s just all make our art, sell it if we want to, and make our livings how WE CHOOSE.

Let me sum it up by saying:

It’s okay to not want to make money.  You don’t need to make art your business if you don’t want to.  While it can be so rewarding to make art your life work, this journey is a huge uphill climb and a labor of love.  If you don’t have a burning passion to make art your business, then I would recommend taking it slowly.

Money isn’t the goal for everyone. Totally cool.  But no one is selling out by making money from their passion. No matter the industry.

Interstellar – The Questions – Part 1

If you know me, you know that I’m a huge Christopher Nolan fan. He’s up there with Spielberg and Burton. The other night I rewatched Interstellar and caught some abstract concepts I missed the frist time around. If, for some really odd reason, you haven’t watched the movie yet, you might not want to read this because there will be spoilers. I don’t wanna hear about it if you continue to read after that warning! 😉

BTW, I’m listening to the soundtrack while writing this. Hans Zimmer music feeds my soul. His art is such a blessing to our world. Mountains and Cornfield Chase are the favorite tracks. Okay… now back to Interstellar.

Did you catch the part where on the journey to the wormhole Brand (Anne Hathaway) see’s Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) traveling through a different time dimension? I had forgotten that detail. Which is a perfect leeway to talking about dimensions, the main theme of the movie.

There was an interesting scene where Brand was talking with Cooper about how time and gravity can flow through the dimension. She then went on to say love was a force the crossed space and time because her lover was on one of the planets. Brand’s point was that the tug in her heart may be a sign to follow.

We conclude her choice was the correct one with how the movie ends. We’ll talk about how it ends in a minute, but back to the love thing.

As I was going to bed last night, that idea kept buzzing around my mind. If time, gravity, and love can communicate through the dimensions, then what about our souls?

Our souls are beings, I always visualize them as orbs of bright lights, but we can’t see them. So where are they? Do they live on this dimension? If so, why can’t we see them? Well, what if we are being influenced by beings in another dimension of space?

Let that one simmer as we move on to the next bit.

interstellar_endurance-HD
Official Movie Poster from Google

The Story Line

What was the heart of Interstellar really about? I think space travel was one way of telling a story, but I don’t think it was the main story. I don’t even think saving Earth’s population was the main story. Both those concepts, as wildly fascinating as they are, were plots to engage other deeper messages.

Nolan scratched the surface of some of the deepest questions we’ve been contemplating for eons. Or at least, questions I’ve been contemplating during late night hours when I ought to be drifting in Dream Land (what if that’s us being alive in another dimension?!).

Anyway, Nolan wanted to open our minds to the fact that it’s not just humans in this galaxy in this universe. There are a multitude of dimensions that are housing billions of galaxies and beings. We haven’t even begun to leave a dent in the surface of understanding our own Milky Way, but there are billions of realms of possibility out there.

If that doesn’t make all your problems feel completely insignificant, I’m not sure what would.

I think that was the point of Interstellar. A reminder that we have been looking at things in a singular, one-track minded way. I’d love to know what your idea of the story was.

Now for the ending. Where Cooper goes off to meet up with Brand, and Brand buried her lover (I forget his name). I’m just praying there will be an Interstellar 2 at this point. I need more of it. If Nolan would dig deeper into the theories of dimension, time, and relativity, I think it would make an incredibly in-depth edition to the 1st movie.

I’ll be thinking about this movie all next week. I’ll probably even create a part 2 to this post as I continue to chew on the thoughts, so keep an eye out for that.

So… What do you think? What are the thoughts you had watching the movie? How many questions are spinning around in your head?! I want to hear everything. Seriously!

Brene Brown on Friendship & What Creative Criticism to Listen To

One of my favorite authors and virtual mentors is Brene Brown. Here book “Daring Greatly” has inspired many artists.

Several years ago she did an amazingly in-depth interview with Chase Jarvis. My favorite part was when she talked about taking creative criticism.

That has been something I have struggled with more in the past. She recommended putting the names of the people you care about the most on a small index card that you carry around everywhere. Listen to the advice and opinions of those people first and foremost. Everyone else might have good things to say, but it’s just noise.

I implemented that immediately and it’s made a huge difference in how I relate to criticism of my work.

Here’s the interview for your reference. I’d love to hear your takeaways from it!

A Quote to Reflect on

“Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.”
~Unknown

What a wonderful way to live.

Of course, we have a vast pool of human emotion to pull from in life. None of the above feelings exclude being able to feel sad, angry, lonely, or any other emotion. In the right context, all those emotions have their place.

We were given a wide range of them so that we can fully express ourselves in each moment.

I also think that part of our purpose in life is to find a balance so that a majority of the time we find ourselves in a state of love, caring, and kindness.

I’m nowhere near living that daily, and still go through the roller coaster range of emotions. But it’s a great balance to strive for. Especially when there is so much bashing and hate being spewed around.

Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. 🙂

Spring is Around the Corner!

Ahhhh. The sounds & fragrance of Spring are in the air!

Spring tends to feel more “New Years’ish” to me than January 1st. The warm sun comes out, the sweet flower-scented breezes waft in the air, and everything wakes up from the winter slumber. Here in the foothills of North Carolina the weather has been in the 70s and I’ve been spending most of my time outdoors!

Below are several flowers and ‘weeds’ that have been spotted over the past week in my yard. Also, I am growing a plant called “Calendula.” I’ve never done much gardening before, aside from weeding when I was a little girl. So this is pretty exciting for me. 😃

Enjoy the photos!

Purple Crocus

DA - Crocus

Witch Hazel

DA - Which Hazle

Royal Star Magnolia

DA - Royal Star Magnolia

Daffodil

DA - Daffodil

Not sure what this one is… Please Tweet me and let me know!

DA - Flower

My Calendula Flower Seeds

And, here are the Calendula seeds I started a couple days ago. They’re already popping up even though I just stuck ’em in the dirt.  Pretty cool.  Calendula has a lot of health benefits, you can make you own salves and lip balms out of it, and it’s extremely healthy for the soil and keeping bugs out of the garden.

So this will be a fun growing experiment, and once the flowers have served their pupose in the garden, I will dry them for medicinal use.   Please use caution when using plants medicinally.  Do lots of research and talk to a certified health expert, preferably a naturopathic one. They can point you in the right direction when it comes to using plants to heal yourself. 😉

IMG_5363

We Can Vote

This is a short post, and it’s not about politics. It’s about a fundamental right of all Americans.  

Do you ever feel like your vote doesn’t count? Ticking a little box, coloring in that circle, tapping the button next to the name of the person who you feel *might* represent your ideals.

I think that is a feeling many American’s can relate to, and it transcends what party we stand for.

This election cycle has seen many interesting twists, I will not get into politics and the “he said/she said” commentary — But it’s safe to say we have all witnessed the extreme polarization of America.

Which can be a beautiful thing while also being overwhelming, vitriolic, and can make us all out to look like crazy fools with silly ideas from time to time.

Today I voted in the primaries. Maybe my candidate of choice will “win” maybe they won’t.  In the big scheme of the Universe, this little frame of time is a blimp is a cosmic ocean of memories.

That put life into perspective and allows me to look past all our political differences.Yet, with all the talking at each other, we can all come together on one major key point:

We can vote.

Yes, there are several countries with this privilege… we are blessed to be one of them. By checking a box, we can help catalyze change.  Of course there are many more ways to help bring ideas into our country and world. But we can vote.

No matter how small you feel, no matter how voiceless you feel in the sea of talking heads, no matter what “party” you may belong to.  WE CAN VOTE.