Nurturing Ideas

 My second favorite thing to do while traveling is to stop in locally owned bookstores. Invariably, I find a gem. The latest is a children’s book called What Do You Do Wth An Idea? by Kobi Yamada. It’s a wonderful story about a small child who had an “idea” and not a clue what to do with it…and the journey begins. Up and down, through doubt and belief, from concept to fruition, the two travel together. As the backflap of the book says, “What do ideas become? Big things, brave things, smart things, silly thngs, good things. Things like stories, artwork, journeys, inventions, communities, products and cures. Everything you see around you was once an idea. So what will become of your idea? Now that’s up to you.”  This book is destined to become one of my favorites when I am experiencing inertia.

When was the last time you acted on an idea? Shut down the critic. We are constantly thinking of and acting on ideas. What I’d like you to think about this week is something a bit out of the ordinary. When you catch yourself doing something routinely, question whether there’s a better, perhaps a more fun or fulfilling way, to do it. If there is, consider doing it your new way. The more often you do this, you will find the easier it becomes. Anthony Robbins said, “Don’t be afraid of new ideas. Be afraid of old ideas. They keep you where you are and stop you from growing and moving forward. Concentrate on where you want to go, not on what you fear.” The world needs your ideas and your action. Take a small step each day and soon you will be walking on the moon. Why? Because you are filled with ideas that will rock our world! I can’t wait to hear about them.

 

 

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Exercise Thirty Nine

 What’s your favorite thing to do when traveling? Mine is to stop at local craft shows. I always find something that fascinates me. Running the Washington Coast, we came across a show in Ocean Shores. There was an artist using rubbing alcohol and ink to create beautiful abstracts on tile, another who created realistic cupcakes of bubble bath and soap (fortunately, I realized it in time) and my favorite – a craftsman who created musical instruments from recycled materials. The ukulele will be returning with us to Hawaii.

The reason I love these outings is because I invariably come across someone who takes something ordinary and makes it extraordinary. That’s going to be your challenge for this week. Imagine a new use for something you routinely use or see.  What might you have done with an old animal crackers box? Plant a terrarium? Create a shadow box? Make a drum? Stop now. Look around you. Pick an item and…go! Forget about its current use. What else could it be? You don’t have to follow through with the idea. Just let your imagination run rampant. Keep doing this through the week. I’m betting you’ll find that other great ideas appear in other areas of your life. Have fun!

 

 

Asking for Help

When I’m not feeling well, I go radically out of balance. My positive outlook takes a nosedive and instead of being grateful I am damning everything that doesn’t go exactly how I want it to. This is where I was when I was struggling to get my luggage into the car trunk, damning the suitcases for not fitting easily. My partner looked at me and suggested that perhaps I should be saying “God help me” instead. Ouch. Later that afternoon, I stood up from the couch and slammed my knee in the corner of the coffee table. I paused…and said “God help me” and started laughing. It completely reframed the situation for me.

MaryEllenClagett210Most of us aren’t good at asking for and/or accepting help…especially when pursuing our dreams. We feel that we have to do it on our own or it doesn’t count somehow.  That isn’t true. As Mendability by Austism posts, “Having someone help you doesn’t mean you failed, it just means you are not alone.” There is power in finding like-minded people to join you in your journey. It’s the reason we created Ignite Your Creative Passion. To  foster a safe and nurturing environment, for women by women, to create the life that they desire. We have one life to live. Whatever path you choose, know that asking for and accepting help make the process richer. Find your muses and be one to someone else. Marvelous things will appear.

 

 

Exercise Thirty Eight

Have you ever paid attention to street signs?  I drove past Chicken Coop Road, Deception Pass, and Jimmycomelately Creek today. All had to have a backstory. It got me to thinking. If I were building a town and naming the streets to reflect my life, what would I create? Artist’s Way? Living Large Boulevard? Inner Guidance Pathway? Otter Be Fun Street,You Rock Canyon?

No doubt you’ve guessed what the exercise is this week. Create your own town. Name at least ten streets that reflect your life, your passions  and/or your ideals. Keep adding to the list as time goes by and take some time to reflect on what you’ve chosen. Any themes jump out? Anything surprise you? I’m going to build you a house on You Rock Canyon because clearly you belong there. All you have to do is pick a street name that leads you there.

rainbow2

Travel With New Eyes

imageI grew up as an Army brat. We moved a lot and I learned to love to travel…with the exception of having to start over at new schools and make new friends. My mother had to pry my hand off hers when we got to the new school. I didn’t want to be left. In my fifties, I don’t have that problem anymore. In fact, what I especially like about going to new places is that no one knows who I am.  No history, no pre-conceived beliefs. I can be anyone I want to be.

Currently, I’ve traded the Island of Hawai’i for the San Juan Islands in Washington state. I love these islands also.  Before I left, my niece gave me a set of cards called the Anywhere Travel Guide: 75 Cards for Discovering the Unexpected Wherever Your Journey Leads. Every day you pick a card to act out. Today it was “Buy a stranger a cup of coffee”…one of the easier ones. What it reminded me is that you don’t have to travel far afield to have new experiences and see things with new eyes. You just have to do something you wouldn’t normally do or say. As you go through this week, do something out of the ordinary — ask a stranger a question, look at a statue from a different perspective, go down a different street. Leave your “would ofs”, “should ofs”, “could ofs” behind and be someone new to town. Have fun with this! You just may discover something new that you love.

 

Exercise Thirty Seven

PeleIt’s still Wednesday in Hawaii, so I haven’t missed my deadline. I delayed writing today so I could include one of my photos from the volcano which we visited last night. Standing at the top of the caldera and looking at the molten lava jumping into the air and flowing across the crater floor was awe-inspiring. If you ever doubted that the earth is a living, breathing entity, this would change your mind. The Island of Hawai’i is the only place I’ve been where I have felt the power of the earth — it is an ever-changing landscape. Where many only see the stark lava fields, I see the lava turning to dirt, shoots of plants pushing their way up to the sky, flowers blooming, birds and butterflies gracefully winging from leaf to branch. Every day is about creation and, sometimes, erasing what exists to make way for new life. How’s that for a metaphor for our lives?

This week, pick up that pencil and paper that have been dormant since the last time I gave you a writing exercise. At the top of the paper, write the following: “I choose to create a life that…” Continue writing for 15 minutes – steady flow, no editing, no judging. Anything special jump out at you? Nurture it. Be like the sprouts that are pushing their way through the lava and go towards the light. The world needs you to let go of that which doesn’t serve you and create that which does. You are as awe-inspiring and powerful as the show I saw last night!

A Day of Rest

I have been going full-tilt for the past month, pointed in multiple directions, initiating new ventures,  packing boxes, checking off “to do” lists, ignoring my rituals. Yesterday, it caught up with me and I had my first “sick day” since retirement. Laying on the couch, surrounded by hot tea and chicken soup, I was forced to stop and rest. My mind and body said “Enough.” So there I was, a victim of not taking my own advice.

Cathy - whale tail 2The advantage of downtime is its a great time to pick up a book. In doing so, I came across this quote by Pablo Casals: “Each second we live in a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that never was before and will never be again. And what do we teach our children in school? We teach them that two and two makes four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are?  We should say to each of them: You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the world there is no other child exactly like you. In the millions of years that have passed there has never been a child like you. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything.” I have to admit I got a bit of a much needed charge when I read this as I sometimes forget that I am the only me.

Here’s an important secret. This doesn’t just apply to children. We all have the capacity for anything. It’s never too late to begin again, to find your passions, to realize your dreams. Don’t wait for a “sick day” as a wake up call. Take time to nurture yourself. Listen to your heart. Look to the future. When you stop learning, you stop living. Choose to live your life to the fullest as your most glorious you.

Exercise Thirty Six

It’s amazing to me how often, in the midst of a new adventure, a little voice whispers in my ear “You aren’t …” Fill in the word. Capable. Good enough. Talented. Smart. Or “You are…” Clumsy. Fat. Hopeless. The list goes long and that little voice has a powerful effect on me. I expect we all have encountered our inner critics at one time or another. Today, I’d like to share an exercise I have used, on many occasions, to diffuse that naysayer.

otterTake out a piece of paper and a pen and find a quiet spot to sit. Write at the top of the paper “I Am”. Now, start writing down everything that comes to mind — good, bad and indifferent. Take as long as you need.  Finished? Go back to the list. After every comment that is not uplifting write “sometimes” or “yet”. It takes the edge off. None of us are perfect all the time nor do we expect others to be. Let’s give ourselves the same consideration. As the author  C. JoyBell C wrote, “I am my own biggest critic. Before anyone else has criticized me, I have already criticized myself. But for the rest of my life, I am going to be with me and I don’t want to spend my life with someone who is always critical so I am going to stop being my own critic. It’s high time that I accept all the great things about me.” 

There is nothing wrong with acknowledging and celebrating the great things about you. There is also nothing wrong with being kind to yourself when you don’t shine at your brightest. You are a unique presence and light in the world. Shine on.

The Launch

photoI’ve been writing a lot about fear which illustrates how closely my writing follows my life. Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been putting our dreams into action -signing contracts, polishing the final details of the schedule, and lining up some amazingly talented women to join our team.  We are on course for next February and the inauguration of Ignite Your Creative Passion – A Women’s Retreat. I was tempted to break a bottle of champagne against the side of the Marriott Waikoloa Resort after we signed the contract but decided that was a waste of good champagne.

For those who regularly read this blog, you know that I am always looking for signs that I’m on course. Yesterday, it came to me when I saw Marianne Lewis’ amazing performance of “We Are the Power.” I bought the CD afterwards and listened to it, full volume, on the way home. “Turn your lights on…Ignite…we are the power…ride the wave of possibilities.” She had captured everything in her song that had motivated us to initiate the retreat. I am jazzed to move forward.

Isabel Lopez wrote in Isabel’s Hand-Me-Down Dreams, “If you can’t believe in miracles, then believe in yourself. When you want something bad enough, let that drive push you to make it happen. Sometimes you’ll run into brick walls that are put there to test you. Find a way around them and stay focused on your dream. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”  I’m taking it to heart. There’s still a lot of work to do but we’re rolling forward with joy and passion. By women, for women. Woo-hoo! It’s going to be some ride.

 

Exercise Thirty Five

When I  took that short break on Monday, I literally stumbled on Julia Cameron’s Vein of Gold. Its been years since I read it and I had forgotten that I even owned it. Yet, there it was, sticking out of the bottom shelf of the bookcase waiting for me to notice. Julia Cameron is a fan of “Morning Pages.” Each morning you write, in longhand, three pages of streaming thoughts. I remembered how I religiously, for a time, sat down to write and how often my sentences were “I don’t have anything to write.” As I reread the chapter about the Morning Pages, I was struck by this passage:

cathy - lily“I lived for years in Greenwich Village. Only when I found myself writing my delight in window boxes, city cats and city dogs did I realize that my daily flora and fauna reports might indicate that a more rural life was called for. It was the Morning Pages that helped me break my denial. Officially, I was a terminally hip downtown artist, urban and urbane. At heart, I longed for country roads, sunflowers and chicory.”

This struck a chord with me and had me pull out a notebook this morning and start the Morning Pages ritual again. I’m looking forward to finding golden nuggets in the dross of random thoughts. Julia Cameron recommends that “As a rule of thumb, allow some weeks to accumulate before you do reread your pages [if you choose to reread them] and never allow anyone else to read them. When you read, read as if you were your own closest friend looking for sources of pain and happiness. Be alert for recurring themes, concerns, and causes for celebration.” What do you think? Are you game to give it a try? I’m always more accountable to do something when I know I am doing it with someone else. Feel free to join me in writing the Morning Pages. I expect there are facets of ourselves that we have buried that will show themselves to us. Memories will be awakened – some laughter, some tears. Are you ready? Make a plan — get up ten minutes earlier, put pen to paper, and write until the three pages are done. Close the notebook and move on with your day. Let’s see what happens together.

Writer’s Block

I’ve been struggling today with writer’s block. I have pages of topics to write about, quotes I love, but the words aren’t flowing. Instead I want to sit outside on the lanai and just enjoy a cup of coffee and let all the tasks that are piling up be blown away by the wind. A moment in sun. I think we all need that at times. To stop the “busy-ness” of our lives and turn inwards, to ground ourselves in the midst of nature. I’m hoping your indulge me today and be content to reflect this week on one of my favorite quotes by Marianne Williamson from her book A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles:

sunset 2“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” 

Let your light shine bright this week. You are a magnificent and I am so blessed to have you in my life!

Exercise Thirty Four

Victoria Moran wrote in Lit from Within: “If you celebrate your differentness, the world will, too. It believes exactly what you tell it — through the words you use to describe yourself, the actions you take to care for yourself, and the choices you make to express yourself. Tell the world that you are a one-of-a-kind creation who came here to experience wonder and spread joy. Expect to be accommodated.” I love the thought of being a one-of-a-kind creation who came here to experience wonder and spread joy. How about you? Join me this week in believing wholeheartedly that we are.

IMAG1208This week, write down “I am a one-of-a-kind creation who is here to experience wonder and spread joy” on a number of post-its and post it where you will see it through the day. Make it a point to give at least one compliment a day to someone you meet. When you make a mistake, celebrate it by throwing your hands up in the air and yelling “Ta Dah.” Stop taking yourself and others so seriously. As I pointed out on Monday, we aren’t going to get out of here alive so let’s enjoy the ride. I’m betting that as you loosen up, you are going to find the space filled with ideas that surprise and delight you. You deserve to be surprised and delighted. Be fluid and spread the joy around you.

A Finite Number

A good friend, currently living in New Zealand, pointed me to the website of a couple she recently met. It is called 19000 days.  The couple writes:

“About a year and a half ago we (Jenna and Chris) began sharing ideas about the lives we were living compared to the lives we wanted to live.  We found it incredibly unsettling how much time we spent doing activities that did not work towards our life goals – and that there was no urgency to do anything about it…This is where the concept of 19,000 Days comes from; it’s the amount of time until our bodies would no longer allow us to pursue our goals.”

They quit their jobs and decided to spend the next year traveling the world. Luckily, they started in New Zealand which now allows me to follow their journey real-time.

happyFew of us know when we are going to die. We look towards the future making plans for what we are going to do when we have time…when the kids are out of the house…when we retire…We forget there are no guarantees that we will even get to tomorrow. For those who are thinking that this is a morbid subject, it’s really not. A finite number of days is a fact. I’m not advocating that we all must quit our jobs and responsibilities. I am advocating that now might be the time to think about why you are doing some of the things on your “to do” lists. Look at why you are putting off the things that will make a difference in how you feel about yourself and life. Start thinking about what you might want to put on your “to do” list that will celebrate who you are — volunteer at a soup kitchen, make time to read to a child, prepare to hike the Appalachian Trail. Take a page from Jenna and Chris, “19000days.com is a record of our efforts to make each of these days count.  Our hope is that it will inspire at least one person to change their life for the better.  Anything beyond that is just a bonus.” A small step may change your view of the whole world.

 

Exercise Thirty Three

I finally saw “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” today. When I heard one of the characters say, “Everything will be alright in the end…if it is not alright then it is not the end,” I knew that I had to use it in the blog. Let me repeat it. “Everything will be alright in the end…if it is not alright then it is not the end.” What a photo-65great thought to keep one moving forward. We all hit lows in our lives – circumstances seem to conspire against us, dreams get put on hold, we feel alone. Or, on a lighter note, we are stalled on a project, don’t know where to start, get sidetracked. In either case, we feel that we are facing an insurmountable wall. How would we change, if instead of seeing just the wall, we see the window streaming light to the left? Would we then remember that there is always a way through wherever we are?

For this week’s exercise, I’d like to do something a little different. Every time this week you are faced with a tough situation, I’d like you to say to yourself, “Everything will be alright in the end…if it is not alright then it is not the end.” Take a deep breath. Notice how your attitude changes. In the space that opens up, you might take some time to work on something you love to do. The point is that you get to choose how you look at things that happen around you and to you. You get to choose to close down or to open fully to life. I suggest that you choose the path that will bring you the most joy.

Expand Your World

blog - flowerLord Tennyson wrote in Ulysses, “I am part of all that I have met.” This quote came back to me on Saturday. Every year, the Daughters of Hawai‘i honor Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole at their annual Day at Hulihe‘e Palace. As I watched the hula dancers tell their stories with graceful movements of hands and body, I was transported back to my days on Oahu. Stepping off the plane, I had a sense of arriving home and I was determined to immerse myself in all things Hawaiian – the language, the hula, the people, and the history. Much of it was foreign to my East Coast, Type A, workaholic personality and I often found myself far out of my comfort zone. I grew in ways I couldn’t have imagined and I wouldn’t trade a minute of the journey.

When was the last time you learned about another culture? Tried an ethnic restaurant? Danced a salsa? Without realizing it, we find ourselves in comfortable routines and patterns. We go to the same events and restaurants, mingle with the same people — in fact, we are quite happy in our little worlds. It is good…but it can be better. This week I challenge you to expand your world. Go to an Afghan restaurant, watch a foreign movie, listen to the BBC news, visit an ethnic street fair — anything that rocks your world. Push your borders out and experience something new. Every connection spawns more connections. By the end, you may find yourself someplace you never imagined with new friends that both surprise and delight you. Take a page from Alice in Alice in Wonderland — I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.” Celebrate the differences.

Exercise Thirty Two

A friend recently posted on my Facebook page a picture “If you can’t handle me randomly blurting out song lyrics that relate to what you just said, we can’t be friends” with a comment following that she was thinking of me. It’s true. I am one of those people.  My brain appears to be hardwired to link words with songs – and my mouth naturally follows along. That said, I, who would have no problem bursting into song publicly anywhere, am fearful of standing in front of an audience and singing. Given my question to you on Monday, “Will you view fear as a gift to be opened?” — what will I do with that knowledge? Stay tuned for a future blog where I answer that.

For me, part of the problem with facing my fears, is that I’m too busy to take the time to see them. There’s so much to do and so much left undone that it is easy not to be present with myself and to reflect on what “gifts are waiting to be opened.” So, let’s start smaller this week. Let’s take the time, three times a day, to be fully present. If you are driving, concentrate on feeling the steering wheel against your palms. If you are walking, focus on what’s around you. If you are talking, stop and really listen. Breathe. You get the idea. It’s not hard to do. It just takes the will to do it, to be fully present three times a day. I expect that you are going to get  hooked on the feeling of living in the moment.

I suddenly feel a song coming on…join me with Jason Moraz’s song, “Living in the Moment.”

The Gift of Fear

I love books. While both my Kindle and IBooks apps are filled with titles, for me, nothing beats a real book — a book where I can underline, write my thoughts in the margins, draw lines to connect thoughts and record my reaction with stars on those passages that I will someday return to. I’m not one of those readers that sits with one book and completes it from cover to cover. Instead, I have a piles of books stacked around the house, which I pick up on  a whim to read. Which is why I find it fascinating that the four books I picked up to read yesterday, all had passages about viewing fears as gifts to be opened.

Cathy - Pink water lilyWhen the same message appears multiple times to me, I believe that it’s time for me to sit up, take notice and reflect. Fear as a gift to be opened? I needed time to wrap my mind around that – I have always thought of fear as something I had to work through. Viewing it as a gift put it into a whole other perspective. In a commencement speech to Harvard University graduates, J.K. Rowling shared “I was set free, because my greatest fear had already been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” Wow. Is there a better example of the gift of fear?

What are your fears? What keeps you from living life joyfully and fully? Is it the voices you grew up with? Society’s definition of success? Of responsibility? This week I challenge you to seek out and acknowledge your fears. Bring them into the light. Flip your perspective. Treat fear as a gift and see how it changes your response and, quite possibly, your world.

 

 

Exercise Thirty One

I have been writing this blog to remind us that creativity is more than being an artist, it is about us. I was reading The Purpose Principles: How to Draw More Meaning intoheartsong Your Life and Jake Ducey captured my thoughts perfectly. “Drawing is a creative act that requires vision, imagination, originality, dedication, and patience. It is a perfect metaphor for the way we need to approach life. We must apply our artistic skills to get the most out of each day. An artist doesn’t stop at seeing a vision or having an idea in their mind — they take it further and work to turn what they’ve seen in their imagination into reality. This is the same skill set that needs to be developed in those who want to live an authentic life of their own creation.” This quote is now posted on my wall.

Monday, I wrote about honoring the impulse of wanting to do something to make your part of the world a little better. What did you do? Smile at a stranger? Thank a waitress? Speak to a homeless person and acknowledge his presence? It doesn’t take a lot to make a difference in someone’s life. And, guess what? That applies to you, too.

I receive daily messages from Sam Bennett, the creator of the Organized Artist Company. Each email encourages me to take 15 minutes to do something that is important to me. It’s a small step, but those 15 minutes a day add up. Better yet, taking those fifteen minutes each day restores my energy, refreshes my outlook, and lightens my load. My challenge to you, this week is to think about what you want to be doing with your life a year from now and then take fifteen minutes each day to move you towards your vision. There is no rule that requires instant dramatic change – take small, achievable steps towards your goal…just fifteen minutes a day…and don’t be surprised when more time opens up for you to do more.

Paying It Forward

 

How many of you saw the movie “Pay It Forward?” I was reminded of it when I saw Hannah Brencherblog - love being interviewed on the Meredith Vieira show. To deal with depression and loneliness after moving to New York City,  she began to write and leave letters randomly with the words “If you find this letter, it’s for you” on the front. It has morphed into a wonderful movement with a cadre of volunteers writing caring letters to those in need. Meredith Vieira showed the impact by having one of the recipients come to the show. To learn more go to: The World Needs More Love Letters. I was moved enough to join the cause.

This is an excellent example of how a small act by an individual can have a dramatic impact on the world. She isn’t the only one. There are countless examples of individuals who have done the same – building schools, feeding children, providing hope – in a myriad of ways. Have you ever found yourself starting to do something and stopped because a tiny voice in your head said “It won’t make a difference?” Guess what? That voice is wrong. This week honor the impulse of wanting to do something to make your part of the world a little better. Follow through on the acts that “the voice” says won’t make a difference. You may not see the final result but know that what you put out there will be a seed which will sprout and grow. True or false, I’ve always believed that a butterfly’s wings can indeed effect the winds on the other side of the world. I believe you can too.

Exercise Thirty

I was looking back at some of my former posts and discovered that I reused Elizabeth Gilbert’s quote about saying your wishes out loud.  It reminded me how much her words resonate for me that I return to them time and again. It also got me to thinking about phrases that I now repeat which I learned growing up. “You are buying someone else’s problems” (when looking at a used car). “You can’t ration passion” (WWII vintage). “Public service is important.” As I started typing, I realized just how long this piece would get if I wrote them all down. What phrases popped into your head?

I wrote Monday about honoring our elders. The fact is that we too have practices, lessons, and words to share with those who follow us. This week’s exercise is to stop and think about what you would like to pass on and write it down. Mine include: find what you are passionate about and do it; be kind; be grateful; be generous, there is enough for everyone if we share. It occurs to me that I sound a bit like Robert Fulghum’s list in All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. (For those not familiar with the list, I found a YouTube video by Cynthia Mendoza to share.)

The point is that we all have “aha” moments that point us to how we are connected with one another. Share them and see if we can’t evolve just a bit faster.

“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.”  Robert Fulghum

“Queen of Code”

Yesterday I was listening to “All Things Considered” on National Public Radio and they did a segment on Grace Hopper. How many of you have heard of her? Forget Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. The chances are good that I wouldn’t be typing on this computer and you wouldn’t be reading this on your smartphone if she and other women hadn’t been engaged working on the first computers. If you have sixteen minutes, it’s a great history lesson and I’m betting by the end of it you will have a new role model.

One of the many things I love about the Hawaiians is their respect for those who have walked before them (kupuna). Kahikahealani Wight, Professor of Hawaiian Language and Literature, Kapi’olani Community College, explains that the “kupuna is an honored elder who has acquired enough life experience to become a family and community leader…[they] include the many generations before us who by their spiritual wisdom and presence guide us through personal, familial or community difficulties…[and they are] the source, the starting point or the process of growth.”

Let’s take the time this week to recognize our kupuna. Make a phone call or a lunch date. Share life experiences. Ask questions. Suspend judgements.  There are lessons still to be learned if we would but listen. Spend the week in gratitude for those who have cleared the path that we now walk.

Exercise Twenty Nine

While traveling in Italy with my mother, we came across a huge billboard that said (in English): “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust. A photo of her in front of the billboard graced her Christmas card that year. I was reminded of the quote while viewing the lava fields last weekend.  I don’t know about you but I have always loved the little surprises that nature gives us if we just look. I started with cloud watching and graduated, as time went by, up to trees, plants, rocks…you name it. My photos are filled with images of rabbits in bark, faces in flowers, of a myriad of images that were found in unexpected places.

This week I challenge you to look around with new eyes — look up to the clouds, down at the earth, across the water — in whatever direction you are eyes are pointed. Release your expectation of what you should see and allow the other images to come forth. When I see the unexpected, like a turtle in a lava field, it reminds me that all things are connected. What does it do for you?

lava turtle

Birth of a Drum

drum

I came across the following statement by Elizabeth Gilbert: “Nearly 800 years ago, the Persian mystic poet Rumi wrote, ‘You must ask for what you really want.’ He saw asking as a sacred duty, and I think he was right — not because your wishes will be granted automatically (they won’t), but because the mere act of saying out loud, ‘This is who I am and what I’ve come for’ seems to awaken a powerful force within. By articulating your wish, you’re making an announcement that you’re serious about bringing forth the next great thing in your life.” I recently set the intention to attend a women’s drum circle and found myself this weekend at a Drum Making Gathering for Healing, Love, Life, and Peace held on the sacred lands of Kalaemano.

Up until this point, I don’t think I ever recognized how close the drum beat is to our heart, how the rhythm of the beat resonates through the body as blood through a vessel. As we traveled our respective drum journeys, I found myself flying, surrounded by blue skies and clouds. It was the first time that I’ve traveled while in a meditative state and it was awe inspiring.

I encourage you this week to start saying your wishes out loud. Not to be heard by others but rather to be heard by your heart. The word is powerful as are you. Stand this week in your place of power and believe in the power of your dreams.