Archive for May, 2012

Fulfill Your Dreams One Idea at a Time

This evening, I had it planned to write and gather content for the Convivial book I’m working on, but instead something else happened.

I called a dear friend and chatted the night away.

Sounds counterproductive, but it turned out to be an inspiring call that gave me the push I needed to act on some other ideas that have been sitting stagnant in my iPhone notes, waiting for me to give them my attention.

I got off the call ready to push forward, to get moving, to do something BIG.

If that’s the end result, I have to say that was (a procrastinating writer’s) time well spent!

The ideas discussed relate to creating Convivial merchandise that I want to sell on the site. Yes, here! Right on that side bar to your right—–>

Without divulging all the details of what’s in the works, all I’ll say for now is this…

You can look forward to some wearable and hangable affirmations straight from this convivial imagination of mine.

I haven’t given this idea the attention it needs, because it’s a whole business unto itself and I have somehow convinced myself that the timing or the order is not right yet. Plus let’s remember, I’m the HMIC (ahem, Head Mama In Charge) of two growing warriors aged 2 and 4. You know my little dictators take first place in anything I do.

My delay in taking certain ideas from digital notepad to actual, tangible product is proof that I am guilty of playing small and thinking that I have to “wait” for the “right time” when the time is right now.

When have you held back from following through on a doable, actionable idea because your fear of the unknown or lack of the know how set in?

Come on now, don’t let me be the only culpable culprit in this matter.

There’s another factor that can plague and delay your efforts: Over thinking the situation.

Helloooo, I’m hanging my head and raising my hand over here.

Yes, I am known to over think situations, but according to Tom Rath’s StrengthFinder 2.0 (an assessment I recently took and found to be mahvelous insight, dahling), this is part of who I am, my nature, so I can’t really help it. I am deliberative in my approaches. Call it a strength, and depending on the situation, consider it a flaw.

How many times have you avoided getting started or following through on something, because in your mind, things needed to be jussst right, perfected, positioned better, yet…you still had nothing to show for? Ugh. That sucks and I know your pain. Can someone get me a drink over here?

Here are 4 Tips to push through any sensation of holding back:

1. Talk it out like SO (<–Clickety Click for a DEMO)

2. Write it out like I do or… as Jo March once did.

3. Walk it out.
Forgot how? Noooo problem, HERE’S A VIDEO TUTORIAL.

4. Partner up with someone to discuss your ideas and plan it out.
Without another brain to bounce ideas off of, you may be causing yourself a creative blindspot.

Luckily tonight, I caught an unexpected curve ball with the loving insight shared by a friend.

I should’ve opened up a long time ago, but I’ve been protecting my ideas, cradling them, hoping for THAT ONE PERFECT DAY (and mood) to get started, but I realize I’ve been holding out on myself. And you. Not cool. Not cool.

Ahh…the woes of every creative out there. Fist bump me here if you feel me.

Know what happens when you’ve got a great idea in the palm of your hand and you want to protect it, keep it all to yourself?

You close up, perhaps make a fist and potentially crush it …in the non-Gary Vaynerchuk kinda way.

And how do you think the world is going to respond?
Two ways: they’ll avoid it or put their fist right up against it.

You’ve got to open up your hands and reach out and ask for what you need.

What ideas do you have sitting on the back burner of your imagination?

Share them with the world.

If you keep your dreams to yourself, if you hoard your ideas, the world can’t know what only you are capable of creating. Yes, your ideas can become worlds upon worlds of their own.

That is the only purpose for anything in this life- to share it and offer up an experience with your personal stamp on it.

Put your hand out and release your dreams one idea at a time.

A hand extended cannot be left hanging for too long, because someone else with the same need to express, to give, to be generous with their gifts and experience is bound to reach out and grab on for dear life.

   

Pushing Through Fear One Deep Breath at a Time

I was able to steal this morning time to share with you all I was up to late last night.

After a few phone calls, some research, and two weeks of tapping into my feelings about where I want to go with The Convivial Woman and how I want to feel as a result of my efforts here, I took one swift action toward investing in myself by enrolling in…
Marie Forleo’s Rich Happy & Hot B-School
.

I’m thrilled, jittery and absolutely giddy because I pushed through my fear and every possible excuse that could keep me where I’m at versus getting me to where I need to be!

I spoke to two friends who happen to be women I admire and entrepreneurs themselves and when I told them I would be joining B-School, this is what they said:

“Yay!! We’ll rock it out together”

and

“Yaaaaaaayyyy!!! It’s gonna be awesome.”

After a decent night’s sleep, I also woke up to this message on Facebook from yet another friend who was aware of my recent choice:

“We are best friends…always remember that if you fall, I will pick you up–after I finish laughing at you.” (ahh the truest of friends)

With every risk comes major rewards. Sometimes it’s money, love, moving to a new city or country, a new house, but even better, it’s a more clearer, confident, unstoppable YOU.

When you show the courage to go for it, life responds accordingly and instantly, even if the response is subtle.

It was scary for me to push this button

but I took a deep breath, knew I’d done my homework, and thought to myself, I know what I need to get better at what I’m already good at. And so I did it.

It’s hard to know what to do sometimes, but you still must do that one thing to get to the next thing. Your future depends on you to make a decision, any decision.

I went through the process of signing up for B-School, from an expert I trust and know is the real deal, and when it was time to click “Pay”, I took yet another deep breath, heard the click, and upon exhaling, this appeared before my eyes:

I felt nervous about what was ahead, yet I was proud of myself for demonstrating the courage to give in to my deep-rooted needs.

When you’re a working professional, you show up to work and put your trust in that company to train you to do the job. As you get to know people, you find mentors and people who want to help guide you on your way. Bless those people who take the intiative to get involved in shaping your future. We desperately need more people to step up and reach out.

On the flipside, when you’re an entrepreneur and creating worlds of your own imagination, there is no road map. Everyone is figuring out their way through the road less traveled, yet there are many travelers.

When you choose to tread a path that isn’t as smoothly paved, that’s constantly changing, doesn’t have any clear cut signs for you to follow, then you must seek out mentors in your industry who have had the courage the venture down that same road to help guide and mentor you.

The more mistakes they’ve made, the more knowledge and wisdom they can impart. Athletes aren’t the only ones who need coaches.

Their experience won’t be your exact experience, but it will be worth finding out with them at your side.

So that’s what Marie Forleo and the community of B-Schoolers are going to be for me.

Our parents were our first teachers and that is one world of knowledge we begin our lives with, but there are myriad worlds of knowledge and wonder that await you. It’s up to you to discover them, to trust in them, to invest your time (and yes, your money) in them.

No action taken toward accomplishing your dreams is ever wasted.

Get your education on!

P.S. If you’re looking to be part of Marie Forleo’s B-School class of 2012, today’s your last chance to get on board. Enrollment closes at 3pm EST today 2012 May 25.

   

My Adventures as a Convivial Austinite + Finding the Places That Bring You To Life

I’ve been living in Austin for four months now. My husband and I have been in the throws of looking for a house and we’re discovering so many areas and details about this town because of it.

If you ask me for the zip code of any area surrounding downtown Austin, I bet I can tell ya! I’ve driven all the neighborhoods and have determined the ones whose vibe seep deep into my soul.

I’ve flip flopped back and forth between wanting to raise my kids in the outskirts of the city (aka suburbs) and the inner city and I keep coming back to the city.

I grew up in Chicago and my husband grew up in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, so we were used to seeing people walk up and down the streets, hang out on their front steps, play football in the street, wave to the police, wash our neighbors cars during spring break, play basketball at the neighborhood park, walk to the corner store, and so many more unforgettable memories.

I didn’t go to the most prestigious urban schools- my folks were hard-working people just doing their best to put food on the table and clothes on our backs- but I can tell you I got schooled by the exposure I had living in the city. I’ve got street smarts up the wazoo!

I cherish my upbringing and wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Now that I’m a parent, I plan to enhance my children’s education by not only finding them great schools (it’s important to know what that really means for you), but also granting them exposure to city living, because there are myriad things to learn by simply living among all kinds of free-thinking individuals.

I am not going to be a parent who relies solely on the school system to educate my sons.

I don’t plan for my kids to live in a pristine neighborhood that resembles Pleasantville. Nothing against those areas, or the people who prefer to live there, but to me there’s so much more to life than having a well sculpted lawn, a nice car in the driveway, and a pretty box made of bricks to call home.

I want edgy, cultural, unexpected experiences. I want eclectic, progressive-thinking, out of the ordinary people surrounding my family.

I want people who know the value of investing in the community they live in (and I don’t mean just money, but time) and not just buying into one that is already established.

My mother is visiting me for the second time around and I have been pleasantly surprised to find out that the neighborhoods in the city that I fell for appeal to her too and remind her of her own upbringing.

I take that as a great sign that there’s something familiar pulsing beneath the trees and the streets of the city spots I keep coming back to.

I remember my days in Dallas when I was itching to experience other urban lands and my husband would (nay)say, “Change your thoughts; it’s not Dallas, it’s you.” Well, he couldn’t have been more right! It sure as hell was me and there was no avoiding my feeling.

Pay attention to the places that bring you to life. You will feel it the instant you set foot on the ground.

Some places just don’t get you and vice versa. You can change your thoughts all you want, but your gut (that spot near your hips) don’t lie.

It took me five years to follow my instinct to the place where I felt at home with myself. That feeling reaches deep within and is undeniable. The first week that I got to Austin, I felt this inner calm and felt no desire to be anywhere except the place where I was standing. It felt so good.

It sucks to live each day with the attitude of “Anywhere but here…”

Your life is all about venturing out and discovering where YOUR proper place is, which can be many places. Sadly, many well-meaning people who love you can get in the way of that if you let them. Be courageous and follow your bliss.

I’ve got five places that I can easily call my soul’s home- San Francisco, Chicago, Austin, San Miguel de Allende, and Florence, Italy. And I don’t mean to use pretty language when I say “soul’s home”…I literally mean it, because I felt it the moment I walked the streets of each distinct location.

Places can make a person just as much as a person makes the place.

Getting out every day to discover something new about Austin is what I’m living for these days.

Today I hiked a scenic point overlooking the Austin skyline with my mother and two boys. My oldest son, now 4 years old, led the way and feisty mama wasn’t too thrilled that she had to hike in sandals, but we worked it out!

Sometimes, life takes you away from the things you think you should be doing to give you the material and wisdom you need to do what you’re meant to do.

It’s all about surrendering to the direction your life wants to take you. Only you can steer that wheel. If you let someone else take control of it, who knows where you’ll end up.

Which risk do you want to take?

Transitioning from one place to another is never smooth or stress-free, but I am thankful I had the will and the courage to make the move…even if I had to do a good bit of ball-busting to get here.

Listen to what calls you and what haunts you, because there’s something magical and scary and exciting on the other end just waiting for you to take that first step towards living how and where you are meant to live.

Sincerely,

   

The Convivial Mama Joins the Time Cover Photo Debate

With Mother’s Day this weekend, I’m getting a head start on the celebration by joining in the conversations that are bubbling to the surface online and in print about a beautiful, mysterious, golden handcuffs kind of experience called motherhood.

After a long day of taking care of my convivial clan, I snuck away for some late night reading.

I came across this article about the on-going debate over the so-called “controversial” cover photo of Time Magazine. Take a look:

Are you offended by the image? Is it too much for you? Or does it possibly bring back fond memories as it does for me?

First of all, controversial photo my ass. That image is not offensive. It’s a reality for many people (the attachment parenting fans). I’m not exactly one of them.

The purpose of the photo was to spark a debate and Time succeeded in getting it started.

Hello! Raising my hand to speak on the subject! Thank you for granting me the floor. Ahem…(clearing my throat and straightening imaginary collar) (more…)

   

Unexpected Movie Night + The Pure Talent of Jonsi

I rented the movie We Bought a Zoo for my boys the other night, but I ended up watching the film solo since both little warriors knocked out on me.

There I sat watching the story of a newly widowed father and his two young children. They were trying to figure out how to go on with life after the death of their wife and mother.

I hadn’t seen any previews nor heard anyone rave about the film, so it really was just a casual grab at the good old Redbox near my home. (Psst…that’s exactly how the best and most memorable experiences of your life tend to begin.)

Come to think of it, I don’t know why I didn’t anticipate greatness knowing damn well Matt Damon would be starring in the movie.

The experience I took away from this work of art consisted of tears, major heart palpatations, more tears, and just an all around warm feeling in my body.

I couldn’t help thinking about Matt Damon, a husband and father himself in real life, and wondering what motivated him to take on this role.

We’re all used to him busting equations at Harvard, running from the adjustment bureau, or motivating soldiers in the green zone with one-liners like “Put your f*cking game face on.” I have a certain friend, very masculine in nature, who goes weak in the knees when he hears Matt Damon talk dirty like that.

But in this film, he was simply a man trying to figure out how to start over and starting over proved to be him learning to speak a tiger’s language. Talk about a true character actor.

There was so much about life weaved into this film:

the loss of a loved one,

starting over,

not knowing where or how to begin again,

going where your heart leads you, as crazy as it may appear to others,

the importance of having stories of your own to share,

and really getting the chance to live and take on your own kind of adventure- one that suits you, that is right for you.

You’ll find many beautiful lessons about life, love, leading, taking risks, and letting go throughout the movie.

I felt moved to tears numerous times and highly recommend you watch the film.
I leave you with music by Jónsi from We Bought A Zoo, performing (click below)

Sinking Friendships

The music is the next best thing about the movie! Just listening to it again brings tears. Enjoy!

   

The Convivial Life, always a Page-Turning Experience

I lay in bed with laptop fired up, ready to turn and possibly type out some of the pages of a journal I’ve kept since December 2002.

The journal (shown below) was a gift from my brother after I got married. He knew I was headed on a seven city tour of Europe for my honeymoon and wanted me to have what I needed to document my travels.

I didn’t do much writing out there since I was busy being a newlywed woman, skipping along the bridges of Venice, Italy, hand in hand with husband, and snapping photos of Italian women riding bikes in fur coats. But eventually, I did begin to document my life and fill its pages year by year.

As I review this journal, the events of my life are clear: there are details about my last days in Banking, sentiments of fear as I embarked on a new path, that of a writer, pranks I played on hubby before kids; there’s mention of the first business I started, thus getting my feet wet in entrepreneurship, and sweet musings by a new mother that demonstrate the joy and adoration I experienced with my firstborn son.

I’ve changed so much since my hand first wrote in those pages. I’ve grown much wiser, have made plenty mistakes, gained and lost a few friendships along the way, and yet…

Every new day brings the gift of a blank canvas to create more stories, learn even more lessons, to connect the dots of life in so many new ways.

If you look back on the last decade of your life, what memories flash before your mind’s eye?

I bet you’ll see joy, sorrow, disappointment, happiness, periods of confusion and doubt all mixed up and sprinkled about in that visual.

In recounting the memories, the lessons learned, the times you fell and found yourself standing yet again, the people who’ve contributed to your life, the epiphanies had, where they led you, where they continue to lead you, I’m certain you’ll find joy in knowing that it all happened and continues to happen because such is life…a convivial one, that is.

In the comments below, let me know how you get creative in leaving a trail of details that make up your page-turning existence? Are you your family’s historian, snapping pictures of everyone and every gathering? Be sure to get in some of those shots! Or perhaps you’re painting as my husband does, therefore decorating the walls of your home with canvas after canvas of your soul? Do you have a collection of sorts that you will come to be known by? Do tell!

Until the next time,

   

TGIF: Time to Morph into a Creative Homebody

Spent the day at Phil’s IceHouse chatting the afternoon away with a fellow creative who is starting her own photography business in Austin. Our kids played in the sun to their hearts content while we discussed our dreams at work.

We both grew up in Chicago and thanks to a mutual friend, we have discovered much in common: (more…)

   

My Feisty Mama Visits, Wedding Oops + A Long Awaited Date Night

I’ve been thrilled to start May off by spending time with my feisty mama.

I’ve been calling her that lately when I mention her here, because that is one of the qualities that I love best about her. It also happens to be one of the top qualities I inherited from her.

One thing I’m grateful for is how madly in love my mother is with my boys and vice versa. (That’s them below)

I would die and go to heaven if my mom could take my place and be their primary caretaker, but thankfully I’m very much alive and of this world still and have the privilege to be with them every day. But it ain’t all peaches and soft baby bottoms! (more…)

   

In May: Up Close and Personal Blogs All Month Long

The month of May, I’m opening up the windows and letting in some fresh air for the blog to breathe in.

I’ll be putting the convivial agenda aside (temporarily) and will bring another version of Cheryl the writer. The Convivial Woman is going to read like a personal blog, very Dear Diary-like, so bear with me during this brief experiment of creative self-expression. Johnny Drama’s on board with me! Woo! How about you?

Any path is only a path, and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you. – Carlos Castaneda

Recently, I logged into an old personal blog I’d created on google when I became pregnant with my firstborn son. I was hormonal, physically expanding, and feeling creative after reading the book Writer Mama.

It was daunting to open the world that existed in my head to others, even if the others were my closest friends and family.

I put fear aside (after a few deep breaths, of course) and began to write and share my world.

In looking back on those musings, what a different writer I see!
That Cheryl was flowing, passionate, and carefree. She said whatever was on her mind and was funny, too. I could tell logic took a back seat to my storytelling skills then. I wasn’t concerned with having a following, a target audience or market, I was simply writing for the love of it.

As I continued reading “myself”, I found it hard to recognize myself! Ever have that happen to you?

You look back on things from your past- photos, writings, artwork, videos of you busting a move, awards and medals won, and you wonder,

What happened to me? Where is that person now?

I’ve not stopped blogging or writing since then, I simply created a new canvas for me to splash colorful words onto, but this go ’round, my desire was to go entrepreneurial mama and “create” a business, a brand, and I called it The Convivial Woman.

But the truth is, I have felt logic overwhelm my writing lately and if you’re creating anything, I’m sure you know that

Logic kills creativity, it drowns out vulnerability, and GET THIS…your art needs your humanity.

Anything you create is about sharing your experience, your life, yourself with the world, yet you have to do it without the intention to want the attention. How contradictory is that?

So a different kind of conversation will be had during the month of May. A more up close and personal one…

Let’s get out for some convivial bonding over an imaginary brunch, lunch, or dinner to your favorite hot spot in town (wherever you may be).

Pull up a chair for the conversation that’s about to be had at this communal table of convivial creators!

If this is your first time here, let me intrrrroduce myself to choo.

I’m Cheryl Chavarria and I’m silly.
So glad you took this time out for yourself!
Are you ready to get convivial with me?

Being that I am here to empower my fellow creatives to nurture the person and the creator in them, are there any particular conversations you want to have?

Dating? Marriage? Parenting? Moving to a new city? Having male friends? What it means to be a pathological optimist? Yeah…I could potentially talk about it all this month.

Send in your questions and let’s have some discussions on what The Art of Convivial Living means to you. ‘Cause this month, I’ll show you what it means to me!

I may even brave putting myself in front of a video camera and posting a vlog or two. I know…I know…it’s been a while since I’ve done that.

Stick around, bring your favorite drink, some friends to join ya, and feel free to hang out as I adjust the blinds to my convivial domain and give you glimpse into what my personal world looks, feels, and sounds like.

Chat with ya soon,

P.S. This is a prelude to the launch for The Convivial Supper Club in my new hometown of Austin, Texas. I’m about ready to bust from the seams with the plans and ideas I have! Are you on the list to get your invitation? Become my convivial VIP here.