Whether it dealt with relationships, places I’ve lived, or what I believed about life, there have been many times I’ve found myself having to start from scratch.
Starting over, in a new place, after a breakup, in a new job or embarking on a new business endeavor can be a liberating, yet uncomfortable feeling. It’s a feeling you should never shy away from because although daunting and intimidating at first, these moments are the building blocks toward new confidence, a new perspective, a new you. They are the experiences that contribute to your building a stronger sense of self-worth and self-awareness.
Here are some moments when I had to deal with the reality that it was me, myself, and I, starting over, again.
I was the new girl at the three elementary and high schools I attended.
I stopped talking to my best friend in the 8th grade and found myself a loner at school.
My neighbors announced they were moving back to Mexico–this was a family of five siblings I spent every day with outside of school. My summer was officially over.
My family moved back to Texas and every friend I’d grown up with was left behind in Chicago. That included my boyfriend.
I became a mother and while transitioning into that lifestyle, I found a new circle of friends, only to find myself turned off by their competitive mommy behavior and walked away.
Moving to a new city with my family and feeling extremely happy, yet knowing I had to build new relationships for my children and myself again.
Considering all of the changes I’ve experienced and the many times my social life has seemingly gone into upheaval, I never worried about starting over. I felt a strong sense that I would rebuild what I once had and I would grow because of it.
Change was my friend. I looked forward to it, embraced it, made the best of it.
I have one brother and he never had trouble getting in where he fit in. He made friends very quickly. But me, I was picky with my company, very selective and took my time getting to know people. My brother many times thought I was a snob because of that, and probably many other people thought so too, but I wanted deep connections, true friendships.
When I first moved to Dallas, I attended a football game with my parents, because my brother had been invited by his new friends. I was sitting in the stands next to my mother and my brother brought his new friends to meet us.
When they left, my mother looked over at me and asked, “Do you have any friends?”
Nonchalantly, I said, “No. Not yet.”
She asked, “Why not?”
I said, “I’ve not found any I like yet.”
End of that conversation.
Since changes are inevitable in life, it’s important to “diversify your identity”, as my entrepreneurial crush, Tim Ferriss once said. In order to roll with the punches that life will bring, you can’t allow who you are to get wrapped up into one area of your life. As the saying goes, don’t put all your eggs…you know the rest.
Your ideas, interests, career, relationships, mind and body will change throughout the years, but the one thing that is constant is…CHANGE! Yes, you get the prize. Be willing to embrace it, seek it out, and accept it when it is out of your control. There are lessons to be learned and insights and wisdom to be gained from every transition you go through.
It’s all for the purpose to build a stronger sense of who you are and your place in the world.
What have been some of your biggest takeaways in moments when it was time to start all over–whether it was moving to a new city, ending a relationship, switching career paths, etc?Tweet
I’m remembering my childhood friend, Carrie when she came to visit me in Austin not long ago and it made me so happy to know we’d have five days to play and catch up with one another’s lives.
Our kids played together, I took her and our whole entourage (all under age 5) to many scenic spots around town, and we even enjoyed a few joint naps together! If you’re a parent who has tried to go sight-seeing with small children, you know what that’s like, so exhaustion is almost inevitable.
A few weeks later, as a token of her appreciation for the time we spent, she sent me this engraved necklace which said…
“Live the life you love”
I was thrilled to wear something that held such a powerful message, and so close to my heart. Carrie saw it at a store and said she immediately thought of me.
This is the same friend who sent me the book Write From The Heart by Leslea Newman during a time when I was compelled to cross over from Banking to Unknown Writer.
I had been expressing my desires to her and a few other friends and the day I received the book in the mail, I was in awe. I thought, “Wow…what a way to show you were listening.” To have someone really pay attention to what you say aloud, especially your dreams, then respond with a detail that encourages and connects you to that dream is a gift beyond anything that can ever be bought. And it’s a moment that can never be forgotten.
To believe in someone and have someone believe in you is the greatest exchange you can make. It can’t get any more spiritual than that, can it?
Today, I had another dear friend nurture my spirit by accompanying me on a photo shoot around Austin. I’ve been in Austin for eight months now and have wanted to take pictures around the city to declare “I am here!” Well, today was the day. Here’s a sneak peek into the fun we had.
Before the fun even began, I felt the gratitude bubbling up inside of me and I had to let my friend know how much their gesture of time and attention meant to me. We ended the day with a beer and frozen margarita at good ole Hooters. Yeahhh.
In celebration of life, especially since today is my birthday (yeah!), tell me…to whom can you give the gift of “I believe in you”?
Who can you grant your time and attention to so that you may encourage a long buried dream to rise again? Or perhaps, who has nurtured you in this way lately and how so? Get your gratitude on and declare it or make a commitment to offer it to someone in the comments below. And be sure to eat some cake today, just for me.
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”
“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.Tweet
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.
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…)Tweet
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,
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)
The music is the next best thing about the movie! Just listening to it again brings tears. Enjoy!Tweet
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,Tweet
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…)Tweet
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…)Tweet
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.Tweet
On Sunday, my dear friend, Becky came to visit and we decided to have tarot cards drawn and our palms read by a psychic.
I always had this phobia about seeing a psychic…you know, the whole being afraid of what they might say, of hearing something you didn’t want to hear, but on this particular day, I was open to the idea.
We were two girlfriends looking to create a convivial memory together and do something out of the ordinary, so this seemed fitting.
Upon hanging up to confirm our appointment,
I asked Becky, “Did she have an accent?”
Puzzled, she said, “Uh…yeah…”
I gave an approving nod and said, “Good. Then hopefully she’s the real deal.”
Becky cracked up laughing and our mystical experience was now underway.
Soon we were ringing the doorbell to the Psychic’s office and exchanging pleasantries with her.
Becky went first and as I sat and observed the ongoing reading, I did my best not to (more…)Tweet
I’m at Starbucks trying to uncover the gems I seek for what will eventually become chapters of the convivial book I am writing.
I won’t pretend to be fearless. It scares me to say that I’m writing a book. Such a daunting task for a busy mama, but its what I desire.
I refuse to believe in the impossibility of my dreams.
It’s so easy to just exist, to get by, but defiantly creative spirits won’t let up and don’t get comfortable, so day by day, I take steps to be resourceful, to connect with people who can guide and be part of making this book a reality.
Declaring what you want to the world takes cojones and holds you accountable.
Once you make your dream known, you have a choice to follow through or disappoint…yourself. After all, that’s who you’re creating for, right? If that isn’t the focus, then forget it. Your art is not about anyone else but you. By being true to you, to your art, that’s how you serve others.
And the world- upon hearing your dream- now has the choice to believe you, (eagerly) watch you fail, or become part of the process. Ask for help. Show up for the unknown.
Failure is inevitable, a gift, something to embrace.
In Seth Godin’s book, Tribes, he says, “You’ve got to be willing to be wrong in order to be right all the other times in your life..” Words like that fire me up and make me want to go make a writing fool of myself…in private. If I show up and do the work, I’ll eventually clear the junk and find my treasure.
That’s how art and the process of creating it works. It’s hard to see the initial results of your labor, but if you keep faith behind your efforts, you’ll get to the good stuff.
I am in the beginning stages of this book project. Unfortunately, writing for me can’t begin until after 8pm each night, and I can’t always dedicate every day to creating a new sentence for the book, the blog, or simply for me, because family life takes first place, and many nights, my body fails me. My boys take a lot of my energy throughout the day, and even though I’ve got passion for this convivial empire brewing and bubbling beneath the surface, sometimes I just don’t have enough energy to keep going.
This is me, the convivial mama in action.
I’ve learned very quickly, and painfully, that you are nothing without your body. You must take care of it.
I used to stay up late into the night writing, researching, creating plans with my muse, but those days seem long gone. Nowadays, my body seems to crash around 3pm and I’ve not even done anything! It’s frustrating since the lack of energy cuts into my creative time. Scoliosis and a 34 degree curve in my lower back are the big culprits. I’m working to get that driving force of energy back. My next holistic move to heal myself is Cranio-sacral massage. I’ve been wanting to try it for years now. Intuition’s leading me there and I’m finally listening.
For now, I take it day by day. I avoid comparing myself to others who are birthing one creative project after another, because I know my story is not their story, and my path is my own. Being gentle with yourself is essential to pushing through the slow times, the times when you’re full of creative ideas, yet seemingly stagnant. It’s like you’re standing idle, in some imaginary, never-ending line, waiting for your turn to come.
This is every artist’s struggle: making the time and having the energy to create.
You get knocked down, find discouragement almost anywhere, at times lack clarity of vision, struggle with self-acceptance and self-belief, yet you keep at it, keep believing in what you are compelled to do, because that is what convivial minds who are artistically committed do.
Sometimes I don’t know why I feel the need to show up for the blank page and write my journey, sometimes I am not sure what difference it all is making, but I do it anyway, because I don’t know how NOT to write what I feel, what I believe, desire and dream. Some of it I share here, some I keep just for me, but I know one day, it will all come together. One day…this I believe.
Wishing you the best health for your next creation,Tweet