Archive for the 'exploration' Category

28
Jan
15

Get out of your way!

Get out of your wayDo you find that most of the time the thing that stops you from pursuing your dreams or reaching your fullest potential is yourself?

It’s that one voice inside that tends to drown out all the others with words like can’t, don’t , shouldn’t, wouldn’t.  It tells us not to do it.  What is “it”?  Well, think back…when was the last time you wanted to do something that would help you grow or take risk (that wasn’t about being practical and responsible) and you didn’t do it?  Whatever it was, that was the “it.”  It could have been signing up for a class, starting a business or simply choosing to spend time or money investing in your own personal growth.

There are so many things that I want to do and experience in my life that I fear I won’t have the time to do them all.  I certainly don’t need to put another obstacle in my way, but it continues to be a battle to drown out that inner voice of doubt and judgment.  However, I recognize that I am not alone.  The universal power of this conflict was once again brought to my attention while reading a book about women in the mid 1960’s.  The overriding struggle of the women in the book was with that voice, but for them the voice was also more externally pronounced.  In the time during and after the Cold War, many women felt trapped by prescribed social roles and didn’t pursue their dreams for fear of looking like a bad mother, doing something at the expense of their family’s well-being or seeming unfeminine.  Does this still sound familiar?

Despite the fact that that way of thinking was over fifty years ago, it was still only fifty years ago.  In other words, it takes time to change the thinking and/or perception of a society’s gender norms.  And that change begins and ends with us.  We must be the first to believe and say “no” to that voice from the past which tells us no!  It’s a constant battle to retrain the brain.  Why does it seem easier to tell others what they should think or do?  Most times we can see things more clearly from the outside of a situation which is why it is vital to have trusted friends who can encourage us to combat old patterns of thinking.

We can’t erase the past, but we can recognize and identify our mistakes and learn from them.  Sometimes it can be easier and safer to listen to that inner voice.  However, if we do, we not only deny  our true selves, but we perpetuate a false social philosophy which prevents us from obtaining the freedom which we all deserve.  If we are torn within ourselves, we will not be unified outwardly with others.

So let’s get out of our own way!

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08
Jan
15

Let’s get busy!

let's get busyMake any New Year’s resolutions?  I did.  Actually, I’ve been thinking of it for quite some time and began it with my last post made in December.  “What was it?” you may ask.  It was to get busy!

The book and motion picture “Wild,” has been getting a lot of attention.   Society’s response to a strong female and her journey through grief to self-discovery has been encouraging.  It’s also been an awakening to the media for the need for more pivotal female roles on the page, stage and screen.  During a radio interview with Reese Witherspoon, the star and producer of the film adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s book, “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail,” Witherspoon referenced the lack of complex roles for women and responded by not only saying, but putting into action her comment:  “…nobody is doing this work.  I might as well get busy and do it myself.”

Obviously we don’t all have the resources like Witherspoon, but we do share the same perspective.  As a result, instead of expecting others to address the needs which have already been identified, I have decided to join Witherspoon and “get busy.”  What does this mean?  I believe that in each of our lives in our own way, we can make a difference to bring about change for gender equality.  From standing up for ourselves or others when confronted by sexism or working to make more opportunities for women available, we all contribute to society’s transformation.  No action is too small, so we must not minimize our efforts.  It’s changing our very way of thinking as a community; embracing our egalitarianism.

Awareness, education and recognition are vital.  However, without following that up with action in our daily lives, our society tends to find contentment with labeling gender discrimination as simply one of many issues which need addressing.  “Issues” tend not to have the same concern as crisis.  Why is it not a national crisis that women do not receive equal pay for equal work?  Why is it not a global crisis that women are surrounded and trapped by violence, rape and sex trafficking?  When perceived as an issue, it weakens the urgency of our condition.   This is nothing less than a crisis which demands action.

So let’s get busy!

Read interview with Reese Witherspoon

 

Support women artists by buying the book “Wild:  From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed and see the movie.

27
Apr
14

keep moving

keep movingAll things come to an end.

It’s strange to think that I won’t be going back to school in the fall.  Several friends have asked me if I can’t wait to be done, but I feel more than ever that I’m fully in the present.  Perhaps that is because I have so much I want to do before I graduate, however, for the most part I just can’t see that far ahead.  And that’s okay.

I know one step in front of me, that’s all.  And tonight, two amazing women who have been there to guide me through some dark and difficult times over the past four years reminded me that it’s okay not to know.  Not to know the future.  Not to know what’s next.  What’s important is taking the step and to keep moving.  They reminded me that strength doesn’t come without valleys, but one needs to keep moving through them to reach the mountaintops.

Who knows if I’ll ever reach the mountaintop of life.  I don’t even know what that looks like for certain.  And that’s okay too.  I’d like to think that each day has the capability of holding in it a mountaintop for each of us if we let it.  Today was celebrating with a community of gifted artists who have touched my life.

All things come to an end, but I know that that celebration will continue as long as I keep moving.

22
Apr
14

big dreams

big dreamsDream big!  Easier said than done, right?

It’s amazing how within a moment your whole life and perspective can change.  Dreams that once seemed so distant become clearer and closer than ever before.  But it’s easy to remain focused in those moments of celebration, when the path opens for you.  Staying true to yourself in the long haul when all the doors seem to shut around you is when it becomes a challenge.

I’ve had the privilege over the last few weeks to meet a diverse group of artists; all who had/have dreams.  Many shared their hearts and the journey they’ve taken to reach their dreams.  However, they all keep reaching.  It’s not that they have “arrived,” but that they never stop growing and searching for the next challenge.  Their openness to all of the possibilities creates more possibilities for them; and that I believe is the key to unlocking dreams.

But what does it mean to dream big?  Everyone’s dreams are relative to the individual.  However, if one has an overall vision for their life and work that drives them in all that they do, then everything that they invest in will be part of making their dreams come true.  Each step of the journey is in fact, living the dream.  This perspective is exhilarating to me because instead of waiting for your dreams to come true, you can celebrate the journey towards those dreams; knowing that you will never fully arrive so the dream never has to end!

So perhaps a fulfilling life is not about achieving your dreams, but having a dream that lasts you a life time.

21
Apr
14

joy ride

joy rideHow do you live your life?  Do you allow your goals to determine your efforts or your efforts to lead you to a goal?

I’ve always been a planner.  I like to have everything organized and all the details in place.  There’s something satisfying about finding freedom in structure as well as anticipating something certain.  Most would say this makes me a bit of a control freak which is probably partly true, but the rest is probably a combination of a being overly responsible and needing stability.

However, I’ve recently discovered that when I set a plan, it tends to make me feel boxed in.  Instead of feeling secure and comfortable, I see the jail bars surrounding me.  So my goals in a sense close doors to other possibilities; ones that may be even better than my original plans.  Setting goals is healthy, but sometimes if we don’t allow anything to veer us off our course we miss out on the beautiful detours of life that can cause one to discover a new and perhaps more exciting path.

So what I’m learning about myself is that I would rather live my life allowing my efforts to lead me to a goal.  Perhaps that sounds a bit like letting life happen to me and not being proactive, but from my perspective it is quite the opposite.  I find that when I love making the effort, the goals or end point of those efforts become less important; the goal is more like a sign in the distance that is just out of sight that you can’t read what it says, but you know you’re headed in the right direction.  Then as you travel you’re not so focus on taking one course to get to your destination; instead the road becomes wider and full of amazing side streets full of possibilities along the way.

There’s something scary and liberating about not knowing the next step in the journey.  For me, I have found that it enables me to take more joy in the ride.

14
Apr
14

surrounded by stories

surrounded by storiesWe’re all surrounded by stories.

So many people.  So many places.  So much life everywhere.  I wish I could hear all of their stories.  Recently, my husband picked up the hobby of ham radio.  Right now he’s only listening in on people’s conversations because he doesn’t have his license yet.  He’s really enjoying it and frankly, I didn’t really understand the fascination until now.  It’s like being a fly on the wall, but all over the country.  In his case, he doesn’t ever see or meet the people; it’s strictly audible.  For me, actually traveling to a different location affords me the opportunity to experience with all senses.

What am I experiencing?  A different way of life.  A different culture.  Sitting in the lobby of the hotel I listen in on the staff’s playful banter and when they’ll take their next break.  I got to meet a man who lives in Virginia and has two children currently on spring break (he drove me in a taxi from the airport).  Along the way, I did some site seeing from the car; it was a perfect auto-tour including the Capitol, Washington monument and the cherry blossoms.  And lots of people visiting the same things.

In the airport waiting for my flight, I heard the life story of a Lebanese woman being told to a young man who was trying to pick her up.  While in line to get breakfast, I overheard a British couple discussing the world dominance of Starbucks. I caught the receptionist picking on the concierge for being so sweet for getting me a bottle of water.  He also took the time to point out the restroom once I’m finished with the water.

It’s the little human connections that make it all worth it; not shutting out the world but inviting it to show you its many possibilities.  I’m thankful to have this opportunity to play a small role in the life stories of others across the country.

14
Apr
14

an amazing ride

an amazing rideHow did I get here?

Here I am, waiting in LAX airport to fly to Washington, D.C. for an arts festival at the Kennedy Center.  Did I mention I’m waiting, alone?  Ten years ago I would never have imagined I would be here.  Not only here, here at LAX airport which seemed like a million miles and a lifetime away, but living a life in California.  And on top of that, traveling alone.  I know for many this is not a big deal; in fact it is an everyday occurrence.  But for me, it’s miles and years away from who and where I used to be.

It’s not that I was necessarily discouraged to be independent, but it was much easier as a woman in the small town I grew up in to be dependent.  So I easily fell into this pattern once I got married right out of high school.  Though I looked at the world outside my tiny circle and existence with longing, it never seemed to be a possible reality.  Places like L.A., San Diego and even D.C. seemed like places in stories I’d only heard or seen on TV.  For someone who, at the time, feared driving 65 mph on a three lane highway, those big cities weren’t even close to being on my horizon because I literally couldn’t get past my own city limits.

Then something happened.  Thankfully, yet painfully, my longing for another life grew stronger than my fears and I started pushing past them.  My life literally and figuratively expanded from a three lane to an eight lane freeway (ironic that they’re called freeways).  The thrill of the ride far outweighed the fears that I continued to face and conquer one at a time.  However, through much of it, I had my partner at my side.  This still gave me that added security and at times, I fell back into my dependent ways.

But here I am now.  Alone.  Not really alone.  I don’t believe anyone is ever really alone.  I mean I’m at an airport surrounded by people and all I need to do is reach out.  We isolate ourselves; when really we can take a step in any direction we want and run into someone.  And my steps have led me here…

It’s been an amazing ride.  And soon I’ll be taking another one!