Spirituality & Life
I love the subtle nuances in language you encounter when you sit down to write. You end up pleasantly surprised by the unexpected gifts your muse can bring once you show up for the moment.
While preparing to write this post, I thought to share how I’ve been in the process of re-creating certain aspects of my life, and I initially wrote, “I am in process of recreation.”
I stopped and looked at that last word and thought,
“Now, that’s an oddball way to say that… re-creating vs. recreation?”
Or is it?
To describe re-creating oneself or life, I subconsciously used the word that means “refreshment of strengths and spirits after work,” a term whose Latin origin means to “restore to health.”
The more I think about it, that’s what writing does for me—it restores me.
The problem I face, like many other well-meaning writers, is I don’t give my health, er, writing, the front row seat it deserves. I neglect it, take it for granted, put it off, blab about my desire to improve it, and feel guilty and inadequate for not making it an everyday practice. Ugh, so much angst and shame surrounds this idea when I spell it out in that way.
But it wasn’t always like that…
When I was nine years old, I went to the store with my mother and came across a fuchsia-colored, cloth-bound book with blank pages inside and instantly made a friend. I asked to take this new friend home and mom agreed—no outside influences necessary, my request was based on a simple desire to write. That’s it. I had no expectations, no goals, no agenda, no ego.
I picked up a pen (no deep breaths required), and had my first exchange with page one.
It went like this… “Today I ate eggs and Grandma and Grandpa are visiting us from Texas…” That was the start to a lifelong relationship between me and writing.
I visited my new friend on a periodic basis and as the years past, I filled up page after page with details about how I felt, things I ate, places I went, and boys I liked. My infatuation with a guy named Ricky got what newspapers and magazines would consider full page spreads—I was clearly mesmerized by his dirty blond hair, white skin, blue eyes, and that Puerto Rican bubble butt.
(What, you didn’t think women noticed too?)
I became a writing zealot, a devout scribe to my deity, The Page… it proved to be my sanctuary of sorts.
Instead of rubbing rosary beads, I was kneading ballpoint pens between my fingers, releasing whatever demons plagued me at the moment. Happily, I knelt at the edge of my bed many a night to confess my innermost thoughts. This faithful act kept my emotions in check and calmed my mind when life didn’t make sense. I had little to no understanding of anxiety, procrastination, resistance or feeling a sense of obligation when it came to engaging with this faithful friend.
My family saw me writing often and, for the most part, they respected my privacy—except that one time my brother grabbed my diary and read it in front of the neighbor boy. Why did he have to randomly open to the page that began, “Today I started wearing a training bra…”? That story followed me to school the next day and I had a few of the other guys teasing me about my newly developing body. Dirty looks and silence were my response, but I licked my wounds, returned home and worked it out onto the page.
When my mother was busy loving my brother and actually raising me, I wrote about the unfairness of being the girl. When I experienced my first French kiss—with Ricky, of course—I wrote about that 25 minute ordeal (read: this burgeoning adolescent girl’s dream come true). When I had some run-ins with mean girls at school, I cursed and wrote about them.
Pre-pubescent little girl diaries with front cover key locks became hormonal teen girl five-subject notebook journals.
As the years passed, I enjoyed rereading my journals and seeing the changes I went through, laughing at myself and with others as I did open book readings with friends on my front stoop. My handwriting and language evolved from one book to another. I was able to evaluate myself as a person and decide, “Yuck…I cursed a lot there, not attractive…Wow, I was hateful…Ugh, what crappy friends, never again…” Those moments of recognition were the seeds of self-awareness being gently planted within me.
Thanks to my unacknowledged writing habit, I was unknowingly making decisions about the woman I wanted to be, on paper and in person.
Although I didn’t realize the benefits of what I was doing, self-reflection was at work and these seemingly unimportant moments of recreation were actually doing their part to create the person I am today.
When it came to writing, there was never a question of what I wanted to say, whether I was good enough to say it, whether the story was worth telling…it was merely about release and play and self-expression.
Eventually, that intimate practice of writing atop bunk beds late at night, sitting at the kitchen table, and scribbling in front of my Chicago brownstone on warm summer days translated to a young girl who had a high regard for herself. Writing granted me a healthy dose of self-worth without the conscious pursuit of it. Writing was an outlet for peace and solace. I wrote as if I was speaking to someone separate from me, yet it was a form of cultivating a relationship with me all along.
As I grew up, I took breaks from writing because I got busy living and there was no guilt in my absence.
I became your everyday working girl, newly graduated from college, and when I wanted to slow down, I’d do so at the page.
It wasn’t until I jumped the corporate cliff and made the announcement, “I want to be a writer” that I somehow lost the feeling the act brought me.
I was mentally unprepared to handle the struggle I encountered balancing something that brought me peace once I put a price on it. Declaring myself a writer was unnecessary because I was one already. Without realizing, I had embarked on a search for validation for something that didn’t need to be proven.
Instead of going to confession with pen and paper in hand, I started to rely on conversations with others about my feelings, about the confusion I was experiencing on this trail that had only my name on it. I almost started to believe that other people had the answers I needed, that the accolades and social proof behind them was suppose to give me comfort in asking for directions to where I needed to go—as if they knew. That wasn’t the key that would unlock the door to what once brought me and could always bring me peace.
Looking outside of yourself for answers has a dizzying effect and takes you nowhere.
Show up for you, for the YOU in fresh canvas form to weigh things out in your own mind first. Give time to what nurtures and grounds you…the practice of writing, or whatever art form that chooses you. There are many outlets—sports, music, writing, painting, building a business, etc. Become engaged in yours, regularly, so you don’t become stagnant and polluted by what can cause you to feel jaded or confused about life. It can get pretty weird out there.
Writing, or whatever art form you practice, has a grounding effect and it’s crucial that you remember to do it for this purpose, not for your own personal glory, for likes, or validation.
I’m fully aware that my words could land on deaf ears because each one of us has to take a ride for ourselves to discover these truths. It’s hard won wisdom and it cannot be earned any other way.
I’m not here to dish grand advice on how to live right, but to encourage you to simply write (or however you creatively unleash on life). Do it because it makes you feel good, because it strengthens you, and if you approach it with that intention, or better yet, with no intention at all, you will experience true recreation in this very pure act and end up creating something unexpectedly amazing.
Those moments when you are stared at blankly or laughed at frankly… grab a hold of them and make them your experiment on paper.
When you write it out, you inevitably write it off, and THAT is what restores you again and again and again.
Live, write, release, restore… go for that full circle effect, my friend.Tweet
There are moments in your life when you have to pay attention to what life is throwing at you and act accordingly.
Sometimes, all can be going smoothly; other times, everything can be going to sh*t. What do you do when its the latter?
As I must often learn, the more you resist the change you are needing to make, the more momentum you give the forces working against you.
This is when you have to (more…)Tweet
I’ve made it back to home sweet Austin after a convivial weekend in Portland for Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination Summit (WDS 2013).
It was my first time attending and I’m thankful to have shared the experience with my friend and fellow Austinite, Monica Crowe. On our flight home, we sported our new WDS 2013 shirts…
Once you get familiar with going to conferences (or any social event), you begin to understand that it’s not about impressing, it’s about (more…)Tweet
Self-care is a form of trusting, listening, seeking, yearning, surrendering…it’s purpose is convivial at the core.
This is the story of my convivial discovery of an Ancient Mayan massage therapy and how I came to the understanding that you are your body’s advocate and its up to you to find the many ways that nurture, restore, and heal you…
Once upon a time, I headed to Mexico for a much needed sabbatical after quitting my job in Banking. I left behind my husband, my home, my parents; my country, language, currency, and all certainty to walk the cobble-stoned streets of San Miguel de Allende with the intention to restore myself to who I once knew myself to be…a writer.
My first week in town, I went to the mercado and purchased what I thought was a fresh bowl of albondigas (meatball soup). After taking a long walk and climbing the steps of El Chorro to reach the peak streets of this colorful central Mexican town, I knew Moctezuma had spiked my soup with drano, because I fell ill that night with chills and fever.
My mother-in-law, concerned for me, recommended I visit La Dona Chole, “‘pa que te de una sobada…” My Spanish was getting better by the day, but I still had to put two and two together to understand that she was suggesting (more…)Tweet
There is a treasure chest of hidden stories living behind each person’s eyes. If you care to look long enough, often enough, perhaps you might be granted access into a world you might never know.
When was the last time someone looked into your eyes for the simple purpose to see you, really see you? Or vice versa? How did it make you feel?
Artist Marina Abramovic did just that at the Museum of Modern Art, back in 2010 with her performance of The Artist is Present. It may be two years since she performed, but its moments like these that live on forever.
(Click photo to watch this powerful interaction/surprise reunion)
She sat for a 736-hour and 30-minute static and silent piece where museum visitors waited in line to sit across from her and look into her eyes. In this particular photo, she received an unexpected visitor…her former love Ulay.
The two had a relationship in the 70s and when they felt the affair was over, they walked The Great Wall of China, each from opposite ends, meeting for the last time in the middle and never seeing each other again.Until this moment, that is. Can you imagine the intense energy and emotions flowing between them in that very moment?
See the moving images of people Marina sat across from along with the amount of time it took for their interaction to result in tears.
Can you guess who this woman is?
Imagine all of the painful and joyous stories dancing beneath each set of eyes…what did this “momentary” work of art allow them to relive, acknowledge, face, make peace with…if only for a moment?
Check out the rest of the images in the tumblr called Marina Abramovic Made Me Cry.
Indifference to someone’s ideas, thoughts, dreams, desires, concerns and fears can kill so much between cherished individuals.
When someone shows courage and speaks a deep desire, a wish, or they share a long-time or completely new dream with you, understand that THAT is an honor if you are on the receiving/listening end.
When someone trusts you enough to share something so close to their heart AND something they fear, keep in mind that by speaking up, they have just walked across a tight rope, then leaped over a self-imposed safety net that existed to keep them exactly where they are in life.
Do you remember how scary it felt to share a deep desire or a dream you had with another person?
We have to take great care with one another’s heart’s desires.
When someone speaks up and declares how they feel, what they want to change, and what they intend to do about it…know that they are taking the first crucial step of busting out of a box they have been comfortably sitting in for who knows how long.
Your thoughts become your reality, so by taking the faint whispers of your heart and putting them out in the open for another person to hear and know, you are declaring your desire to change the story you’ve been telling yourself and the world.
You are deciding to begin anew, to recreate yourself.
That someone, that dreamer, can be you.
If you are the one who is lucky enough to be on the listening end in that grand moment, YOU are a chosen one, you are the secondary ears and eyes for that potential vision, and if you care enough, you can play a role, a part in their success – you can be a co-creator of their happiness.
They have spoken ALOUD what many are afraid to admit – what they want, need, yearn for, fear.
I’ve been that dreamer speaking my desires and dreams aloud to certain individuals for a long time now and I have learned to decipher between those who care, those who don’t, and those who don’t KNOW how to care.
When I first embarked on my path to writing for the best city news magazine in Dallas, I was excited about simply getting my foot in the door and wanted to share how I was feeling with a friend. When I began talking about what I was doing at the office, my friend cut me off, flicked her hand and said, “Oh, you’re just fetching coffee for them there!” Talk about getting shot DOWN, huh?
Being as self-aware and emotionally driven as I am, those sorts of moments hit me deep, because I would never dream of doing that to a friend.
Every single one of us is a dreamer.
Not everyone of us is a doer, though.
That has nothing to do with ability, but about the choice to take action.
The dreaming for 2013 has already begun for so many…what are you ready to make happen?
Depending on how self-motivated you are, and especially who you surround yourself with, who you choose to hear you out when its dream-speaking time, is a big factor in going from dreamer to doer.
For that reason, it’s important to be attentive, be conscious, be considerate, be open, be available when someone chooses you.
There is a reason they have chosen you, and its not convenience.
Don’t be indifferent.
One day, it will be your turn to speak up. If you dare.
However well you listen can determine how well you will be heard when your time comes to share what’s in your heart.
Your dreams are fed by the amount of nurturing you do for another person’s dream mapping.
Don’t be indifferent.
Be willing to dream with them.
We are all in this together.
P.S. if you’re ready to embark on a quest to the masterpiece within you, take the first step and grab your copy of my book ‘Convivial’ – its one experiential read that can set you on your way to the creative, convivial life that awaits you.Tweet
The doors of The Convivial Woman’s virtual bookstore are now open! What will you find inside this ever-evolving turquoise and indigo colored storefront today?
It’s The Convivial Woman’s first digital offering to the world–a book, baby!
She’s brimming with passion and pure heart. A creative gem that has been long in the making. So, come on in! Take a look around and get a feel for what’s in store for you right HERE.
Just in case you missed the elevator above, pop on through this secret doorway that leads you to the private VIP room and get your copy of ‘Convivial” right HERE!
The life of a writer, an entrepreneur, an artist, an activist, anyone going against the grain is a beautifully challenging one.
The tough part is seeing the beauty during those tough times, during those moments of doubt, during the times when the responsibilities that come with managing your way in the real world (i.e. working a job you aren’t fulfilled by, paying mounting bills, raising a family, finding quality education and experiences for your kids, etc.) seem to take over any time and energy you want to preserve for getting out to experience your life. It’s even harder when you feel alone in your quest to create the worlds you envision, when you feel no one understands why and what you’re doing, including yourself sometimes. The good news is…
There’s a spirit of extreme perseverance that resides inside each creative, inside you.
When you believe there is another way you can live your life, even if you don’t have all the answers right now, you are compelled to stand firm in your position and push through your blocks and detractors. You seek (more…)Tweet
When the DVD for the movie Frida came out, I bought my copy and watched the bonus features which introduced the film’s director, Julie Taymor.
My husband pointed out her assertiveness, the conviction in her voice, the passion in her eyes. The more I listened to her speak, the more I felt drawn to her as a creative and a woman.
If you’re not already familiar, here’s your chance to meet and appreciate the mind of Julie Taymor as she speaks on the value the Arts play in our health, family, and culture. Click the following video link to view.
Here are some of my takeaways, quotes that resonated, memories recollected, and feelings validated…
“The Arts…they’re wonderfully dangerous…I LOVE playing with fire.”
Could I have been aware of this at six years old? This reminds me of the time that I grabbed a box of matches from my grandmother’s house and snuck outside to light them up one by one. I thought I was being sneaky, but it was dark outside and I didn’t think about how the occasional flickering of each matchstick would give me away. The sparks of light lured my mother and grandmother out from where they were conversing and I was caught. That was the moment I got schooled on the dangers of fire, but it would not be the last time I played with it.
“Let’s turn off the lights and tell stories…”
This line from Julie gave me peace about a night time ritual I have with my kids. Every night when I put my boys to bed, I’ll read them five poems and stories from Shel Silverstein’s Where The Sidewalk Ends, or other random books from their collection, and if they’re still unwilling to get some shut eye, I put the books away, turn the lights off and tell them, “Okay, it’s time to use your imagination. Tell your own stories.”
“A whole heart is a broken heart…because through the cracks, the light comes in.”
I think of the many heartbreaks I’ve experienced: friendships gone awry; the times I’ve not felt heard, seen, or understood; the moments when I feel taken for granted; the times I give so much and get no acknowledgment for my efforts; the times I need validation and find out no one can truly offer what I must find within myself…these are the moments when the cracks form and create pain inside, but they are also the moments when enLIGHTenment occurs.
There’s so many other interviews to check out and I hope you feel intrigued to do so. But for now, tell me, what are your impressions after seeing this video? Any insights of your own you’d like to share? You knowwww I want to know. Go on and express yourself in the comments below.
Are you the kind of person who doesn’t take whatever life someone tries to hand you, impose upon you, convince you of, create for you?
Good. That’s what you call someone awake and alive and exercising the free will and power they were born with.
In reviewing some notes of recent things I’ve written, but am not ready to fully share yet, I do want to stop for a moment and share this nugget with you:
You are here to express the masterpiece within you, to live according to all that YOU believe, not what others want you to believe.
The moment you start questioning, that’s the moment you start living.
Open your eyes. Be a sponge. Take your life in your hands as a baby does and explore, observe, taste, and even fumble with it. It’s all just an experience, an opportunity to be. here. now.
Stay open to the lessons the world wants to present you by way of…
the people you cross paths with,
the places you visit,
the feelings and yearnings that linger and haunt you,
the relationships you are challenged by,
whatever and whomever you come into contact with…
Life is attempting to offer you a new, more wild education that is certain to bring you back to the essence of and the original creation that is you.
Let me know in the comments below where you see your compass pointing you these days, how and about what are your personal beliefs changing? What do you think is provoking that change?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
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