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
In case you didn’t know, I like to eat. In fancy terms, dine…and I like to do it with women who are big advocates of listening to their own voices, especially those little inklings and yearnings that tend to lead us down paths all their own.
When inspiration comes knocking, I gather such women at a table and we throw down…not the table (although I could), but the food, along with our thoughts and sentiments on…life, love, business, family, dream-chasing and glass-ceiling smashing.
This experience is The Convivial Supper Club, hosted by yours truly.
Let me assure you, it’s not your average meeting over dinner and drinks. Oh no…it’s much more than that. The food and drinks are really a side note, but we surely don’t scrimp on that area!
The Convivial Supper Club is a highly anticipated, private dining group that sits at the intersection of creative living, personal development and social impact for women.
CONVIVIAL [kuhn-viv-ee-uhl]: 1. fond of feasting, drinking, and good company; festive; folksy, forthcoming, genial, kindly, lively, communicative, expansive, high-spirited. 2. The feeling you get when you make the every day choice, whether subtle or profound, to live your life on purpose and with passion.* 3. The essence of who you are.*
The Convivial Supper Club is distinct and stands apart from every other women’s group because (more…)Tweet
“Take your place…show your face to the morning…’cause one of these days you’ll be born and raised and it all comes on without warning.” –John Mayer
The lyrics above are from Born and Raised, a John Mayer song that’s been on my 2013 playlist (repeatedly), a song I enjoyed on my morning walk earlier today, a song I heard Mayer perform live in Dallas this summer.
I would’ve written about my concert experience sooner, but I was feeling (more…)Tweet
I went to Portland last weekend to attend an unconventional conference and being that it was my first visit, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I’d heard my business mentor and cousin, Tony rave about it and now that I’ve been living in Austin for almost two years, I’ve become well aware of the comparison folks make about Portland and Austin, calling them sister cities.
This was a trip in which I went with the flow of each new day (true chillaxin’). What I’ve concluded is that I love my Austin, Tejas. Sorry P-landers.
I’m sure if you stay awhile, you’ll get the similar vibe amongst the locals of my town and P town, but as far as the way the two places look, I got more of a San Francisco (SFO) feel.
I have to say, no city has topped San Francisco for me…well, unless you journey to this colorful town south of the U.S. border or take an 8 hour flight for some fancy-shmancy bike riding in this Italian village.
I ate really well in Portland. A satisfied palate is crucial for any traveling, convivial woman.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
It’s that time of the year when we honor the soldiers who have served and continue to serve the United States of America. I don’t normally do this on my blog, but…
I can’t think of a better way to honor and recognize one soldier in particular for the sacrifices he has made for our country and my family, as well as the selflessness he has taught me as a friend.
I’ve known him since we were 13. (I’m older.) Here we are with our church crew, circa 1994. He’s wearing the cream-colored suit. (more…)Tweet
I have this desire to expand on the Merriam-Webster’s definition of the word that defines and supports the overall message surrounding this online haven…
Convivial [kuhn-viv-ee-uhl]: : The feeling you get when making the every day choice, whether subtle or profound, to live your life on purpose and with passion.
Convivial is how you aspire to feel every day of your life (whether you realize it or not). It’s a privilege, a unique responsibility that you must take advantage of and this desired feeling I speak of cannot come through unless you make the choice to create and express yourself, every day, in every way you see fit.
I’d love to know how this new, enhanced definition is playing out in your life. What subtle or profound choices are you making to experience the genius and the joy within you?Tweet
Are you at a point in your life where you’re ready to show the world who you really are? What you’re really capable of? The impact you can truly make? Well, let me ask you this.
How willing are you to be seen by others as someone who is…
seemingly not of this world,
many many other times,
The above mentioned traits, symptoms and sentiments plague yet bring about prosperity among many artists, visionaries, and entrepreneurs who make the conscious choice to be on the front line of changing the world.
It’s only by experiencing, exercising and exhibiting such behaviors and reactions from the world that you can begin to truly walk your path, show the world what you’re here to do, and thus create a convivial life for yourself and others.
Awaken and tap into the defiant creative spirit within you today,
[PHOTO: At a vintage shop in Chicago’s Wicker Park with my dear childhood friends, Cecilia, Carmen, and Lissie. I’m the ridiculous looking one in the middle.)
(Be sure to share in the comments below your thoughts and insights, and if you can think of any more traits that I didn’t think of, add them to the list!)Tweet
It warms my heart to see all of the entrepreneurs out there spreading their message of hope and perseverance through their very example of living it. I know it inspires me every day.
I sit at a cafe and just outside the window, I see a van parked with decals that advertise catering and entertainment services. There’s nothing fancy about the van- in fact, I can see a few scrapes and dings in it.
The letters from the decal are starting to peel off, but the person driving this vehicle, and perhaps running this business is obviously not concerned with the condition of his van…his priority is on having reliable transportation for the chairs, tables, and bounce houses he’s offering in exchange for the cash that goes straight to his bank account. Ah…I see him driving away and silently, I wish him well in his endeavors.
What he is concerned about is paying his bills with the income he has created for himself, about how he’s going to get the next customer, and secure their business.
He’s not sitting in some office, whether it be leased or at home, waiting for the phone to ring. No, he’s hustling to get that business. How he goes about his hustle is what sets him apart from his competition.
Everyday that he is in business for himself, he makes the choice to wake up and face potential risk and rejection, one after another, because he believes he can achieve a sale, and provide a service derived from his own imagining, and deliver happiness.
He believes in himself, even when he doesn’t have all the answers. And believe me, as an entrepreneur, a visionary, an artist, you won’t ever have all the answers. (more…)Tweet
It’s nearly 2am,
the rain is pouring outside
and I’ve just gotta let you know this bit from the depths of my soul:
Give yourself credit for the little things you do EVERY day. Though the results may not show or reveal themselves as quickly, you must work toward your goals with the belief that EVERY thing you do does contribute to the big picture.
Want to live a convivial life? Don’t know how to make it happen or what that actually looks like for you? I hear ya, because I work at it day by day myself. Here’s what I have to say to that…
Trust in that which is unseen,
unknown, and (dare I say it)
give in to the craziness of your dreams.
I look myself in the mirror every day and fight to heed the words of naysayers. Wanna hear something really outrageous? These naysayers don’t even exist. They are figments of my imagination. They are puppets of my insecure, unrelenting ego- one aspect of me that encourages me to avoid sharing any experience and expression of my vulnerability, my humanity. But the ego is losing right now as I pour my heart out in the form of flowing words for you to read.
Perhaps only an hour before I felt inspired to share these words with you, I was experiencing self-doubt about my abilities and talents. And what brought that on? Spending time watching what someone else was creating vs. creating myself.
I was about to send my mopey ass to bed, but my thoughts were just too much to allow me to get some shut eye, so I gave in to a task that was lingering in the Draft folder of my inbox.
I completed it, took a deep breath before hitting send, then felt the weight lift off of me as it disappeared into cyberspace. The very next moment, I felt different, acccomplished, content. Proof that you’ve gotta get the work done, whatever it may be and you’ll feel better. Et voila!
One simple thing can contribute to the fast progression of your dreams.
I continue to believe that I am here to do something big, something meaningful. The same is true for you! Are you awake to what that “something” is?
I’m grateful to know what I am here to do, but its an ongoing struggle to know the “how” of getting it done. The answers will come for me just as they will for you, so have no worries.
Though it may seem lonely at times, you are never alone in your experience. You simply need to reach out and ask for guidance, help, directions, a tissue, a hug, a laugh.
The lightning is pretty fierce outside right now, the rain is coming down hard, and I sure would hate to find out in the morning that I left the windows down in my car, but for now, I sit here compelled to tell you to BELIEVE in the worlds that exist within your imagination…they are meant to be created and brought to life. Even if its one task at a time, one day at a time, while the rest of the world sleeps.
Today is the first day of Austin’s South By Southwest Interactive Conference (SXSWi), a much anticipated event that draws entrepreneurs, innovators, and creative folk of all sorts from all over the country and world each year.
I’m grateful to be attending this year. There are myriad speakers and events to pop in on and I’ll be sure to share my takeaways from the events and give you a glimpse into some of the notes I take right here.
For now, I leave you with this reminder as always…
You are a Masterpiece. Live accordingly.Tweet
The actor, Bradley Cooper. You’ve seen him play the a-hole preppy boyfriend in Wedding Crashers. If you’re a woman, you’ve definitely noticed his blue eyes, and would bypass an autograph any day to run your fingers through his dirty blond, wavy hair instead…right? Riiiiiiiight. And I have no doubt that you really became familiar with this actor after his brilliantly raunchy performance in the blockbuster hit, The Hangover. After that film, his star, um, shall we say, skyrocketed?
On a drive back home after visiting my grandfather in Odessa, I came across a video of this handsome actor making his first appearance on The Actor’s Studio. I’ve watched the likes of Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks, Angelina Jolie, and Steven Spielberg walk across the stage and share their experiences as actors, as artists, but more so, as the people they are deep down inside. So this is quite the accomplishment for the young, talented, still very much up-and-coming Bradley Cooper.
Host and creator of The Actor’s Studio, James Lipton covers the actors’ before and after stardom experience, insight into each person’s unique take on the creative process (which if you notice, many answers can apply to various aspects of life and art); he also inquires about the struggles and moments when the actor was simply like every other aspiring artist…committed and determined, many times uncertain…seemingly unrecognized, without fame, merely trying to find their way, their place, in this sometimes chaotic, constantly changing world.
We all want to hear these stories, because they humanize the artist and give us hope and motivation to tap into our own genius and push forward with our dreams.
I’m not an actor, and you may not be one either, but you are a creative human being who desires to create…something, for yourself, for others, for money, for nothing…you simply want to express the life and beating heart within you…to feel that you’re alive. By pairing that desire with outrageous self-belief, unstoppable will and a vast resourcefulness in your efforts, you can create any life, and accomplish anything.
The desire to create, to understand ourselves, the world, and share that openly with others is to understand life, to figure out our way in the world is fundamental to being human…
and I have no doubt that we can find inspiration is everyone’s experience and all learn from one another no matter what form of art they may be pursuing.
Watch Bradley Cooper’s full circle experience in artistic achievement come to life
He is overcome with emotion about his obvious success, in disbelief about where he is sitting, who he is talking to, and it is simply inspiring, endearing, and humbling to witness his pinch-me-’cause-this-can’t-be-real moment in time.
Bradley Cooper’s emotional return to the place where he learned to act. From March 14, 2011
Follow your heart…commit to your art,
P.S. The video is part I of a series of videos, so if you’re intrigued enough, just click through the sidebar afterward to find the rest. I hope you enjoy the video as much as I did! I just love this sort of inspirational stuff. Real life!Tweet