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
I just came across this article on the Huffington Post called The Rise of College Alternatives and it was yet another reminder and comfort to me about the choices I have made in the last decade of my life.
I am a student of life, but in a different sense.
I didn’t make the list of students graduating summa cum laude . I was farrr from it. But that didn’t mean I lacked a thirst for learning. I just didn’t focus on ‘making the grade’.
When I was a sophomore in high school, you would’ve seen me in the library perusing many different sections or flipping through the pages of thick poetry books, looking up words I’d circled in Vogue articles, or reading about the life of Black Panther founder, Huey Newton.
I was simply curious…about everything that interested me.
You would never have imagined that I was nearly failing my chemistry class, even though I adored my teacher who resembled Elmer Fudd. But his adorableness wasn’t enough to get me to pay enough attention to protons and everything else that proved to be a foreign language to my ears and eyes in that class. I just wasn’t into it and knew I wouldn’t pursue it in life.
I wasn’t the best student when it came to what was always required of me, but I still never questioned my need for an education, for a degree.
When I graduated high school, I wasn’t able to ask my parents to borrow money to go to school (I’m still laughing about that one, Mitt) nor did I have a concrete plan for college. I was completely on my own when it came to that, but there was never a doubt that I would go or that I would finish. I was American and having the opportunity of a college education was ingrained in me.
I ended up getting guidance from a fellow college friend who walked the campus barefoot just to prove that he could. He helped me register and schedule my classes – interestingly enough, we had two classes together and he wanted to keep that pattern going the following semester because of his feelings for me, but his revolutionary ideas weren’t impressing me anymore.
Where he saw being bold in the face of authority or disdain for anyone’s upward movement in life, I saw limitations and struggle surrounding him and the life he was leading. That was not how I wanted to feel in my own life, so I eventually changed the company I was keeping.
When I graduated with a Bachelors degree in Finance, one thing I was grateful for was to declare myself debt-free from that experience. I worked in Banking and found a company that paid 100% of my college fees. I’m talking, they covered tuition, books, and even my cap and gown. It was a fantastic deal plus I was getting real world experience in the Finance world while educating myself.
There are always trade offs, though. I can’t look back on my college days and recant stories of me yelling in the lunch cafeteria “Food fight!!” or going to thriller parties with my nerd boyfriend from Lambda Lambda Lambda. I was too busy mixing and mingling from 9 to 5 like Melanie Griffith once did…as a total “working girl.”
I didn’t have the dorm life, the roommate you either love or hate, the parties, the football games, but when I left college, I LEFT it behind me…no debt, no creditors, no loans, and had a degree to call my own.
The choices YOU make in life shape YOU and determining the path right for you is all in your hands.
After getting my Bachelors degree from UT Dallas, I went back in to pursue a Masters in Aesthetic Studies- which is pretty much like an interdisciplinary studies degree where you curate the curriculum of your choice in the Arts. It was a whole other world and I knew UT Dallas was not known for its liberal arts program, or for much of anything liberal arts-related; it was a commuter school primarily for working folks and best known for its computer science and business programs. So I canceled that higher education plan out. I wasn’t willing to move forward, because I didn’t feel it was the best route to take.
So I went alternative and threw myself into the world. I went to Mexico and mingled with published authors, returned to Dallas to work alongside magazine editors at the best city news magazine in town, then went entrepreneurial and started my own personal concierge service, then got into the blogging scene. Who knows where I’ll go next, but that’s the beauty of life…it always changes and I am more than willing to go with that kind of flow.
Many routes that I’ve taken have actually felt more like detours, leading me down paths that have brought me knowledge about life and myself that no college education, professor, or former boss ever offered me.
Experiencing my life, making unconventional choices, becoming a mother, writing my first book, heartbreaks, and trusting in the unknown and my own intuition have been my best forms of education.
I highly recommend you pay more attention to what you want to learn, what calls your interest, what attracts you, who speaks to you, and follow that pathway. This is the very concept of living that I discuss in my book ‘Convivial | A Quest for the Masterpiece Within‘. Have you gotten your hands on a copy yet?
College degrees are a great accomplishment, but they don’t solve everything and they don’t entirely bring you the knowledge you need to live a convivial life.
This is truly a different economy. You’ve got to adapt to it. Your curiosity for learning, for delving into new environments, for connecting and building relationships with others, your willingness to adopt new habits and outlooks, your desire for continual improvement, your openness to criticism, your ability to be proactive and creative, and your courage to face your fears is what will take you through life successfully.
Determine how you best learn.
Declare the world your classroom.
Take your seat up front.
Pay attention to the lessons.
Choose the best teachers…
Life, Love, and your very own heart.Tweet
Do you shy away from conflict? If yes, don’t worry…there’s no need to lower your head in shame. You’re not alone in your desire to avoid disagreement or upsetting another with your opinions. I have certainly had my moments throughout life. But I’ve got a curious question for ya.
What if your lack of speaking up and sharing how you feel, what you see, what you believe, and what you have discovered for yourself is depriving others of a more enlightened view on life, or you?
I came across this moving talk on Ted.com (click~>) Dare to Disagree by Margaret Heffernan
where this former CEO of FIVE businesses speaks on the world’s need to be more daring to disagree, to speak up, to break silence, to be willing to see what no one else wants to see. She says,
“When we dare to break silence, or when we dare to see and we create conflict, we enable ourselves and the people around us to do our very best thinking.”
I’m not immune to the fear of conflict, but I am also more than willing to defend my point of view and stand up for myself more than ever now.
When it comes to men-women relationships, I feel strong. I don’t know it all, but I do know how to put myself first and this willingness to keep my personal well-being at the forefront has served me in my interactions with the opposite sex.
However, I have a weakspot for women. You see, I shy away from conflict with women and find that so ironic. My immense love and admiration for women creates this polar opposite effect for me and when I feel let down or disappointed or offended, I haven’t been the best at saying so.
When it comes to my fellow sex, I venture to see the work of art within each woman I come across, but I’ve been naive to think I would always get that same response back. I haven’t- THAT is for sure.
Could it be because I was bullied as a young girl or that I know women can be masters at the art of rejection and disapproval (ask any guy who’s wanted a date or dance with a female or just watch Mean Girls)?
I’ve experienced jealousy, envy and discord among pacts of women, in friendships, in family, and I know that if I truly show up, I will be either shunned or loved. That scares me and I’ve been guilty of playing small to avoid the less than pleasant feeling of rejection, but that is not the point here.
The point is knowing all of that doesn’t stop me from wanting to play a big game in my life and if you harbor the same sentiments, it shouldn’t deter you either.
When you recognize what you fear, what you hold back from expressing, guess what?
That’s your opportunity to embrace that fear and run with it…FORWARD, not backward and express it, do it, share it, say it, create it, because it is a force, a feeling deep within that belongs to you and deserves to be shared with the world in order to live and truly express your convivial nature.
What are those particular situations that seem to repeat themselves and thus bring about negative feelings within you–you know the ones that play over and over in your mind after you find that you didn’t react and say what you really should’ve said? How do you respond? How can you respond differently?
It’s never easy to open up and acknowledge where your work lies, but if you want to reach the other side of that feeling,- the convivial one, the empowered existence of someone pushing past their fears every day- you need to take a good look inside and figure out where the disconnection remains. Examine why you hold back and what can you do to change it.
You are the keeper of your fears, as well as the one who has the power to take the first step toward vanquishing them.
If we can all reach the belief that we have nothing to lose by speaking up, only everything to gain, then we can be certain and feel confident about creating the discussions, the relationships, the outcomes, and the life experience we wish for ourselves and the world at large.
What fears do you want to find a better response to? In what ways do you want to share your best “thinking” with the world even if it runs the risk of creating conflict?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
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
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’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
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
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
Hello kindred spirits. It’s been a while since my last “inscription.” WARNING: This blog is the mother of all blogs I’ve written. I’m playing catch up to cap off the year so hold tight and hang with me for a moment. I have much to say.
Since announcing my move to Austin, I’ve been quite the gypsy mama, traveling back and forth from Dallas to Austin. My husband and I have been on the house hunt since renting out our home in November and haven’t hit gold yet, but I’m patient and holding out for the most convivial home of them all. It’s out there and I’m ready to plant my feet on the grounds of the State Capitol of Texas, or somewhere close enough.
Changes are brewing on the convivial home front…
This being in limbo, not knowing where my family will hang their hat and call home screws with a lot. With any kind of move you make, there is no way it cannot change you, and it definitely plays tricks on your mind.
I like to know where I’m going, what the plan is, a woman who, as one friend put it, “requires a lot of answers,” and when there are so many unknowns, well, I’m gonna get antsy, uncomfortable, and I’ll do my best to keep my irritability in check, but I can’t guarantee it.
Not knowing where I’m settling causes unsettling feelings about what to plan for, what to talk about, and it’s created some resistance about writing- really just blogging. You see, I’m a perfectionist (I know…I’m working on letting up) and I put these expectations on myself to crank out a “masterpiece” and share something worthwhile, something profound, and eye-opening, with you, every time. And yet it’s a blog. But it’s much more for me. (more…)Tweet