constructive rest

a creative journey


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coming back to the breath…

medium_3805477098Rather than looking outside of myself for stability, safety, and security, I learned from a meditation today, that coming back to the breath provides me with a way to start again.

Most of us struggle to meditate.  I get anxious and think about the 100 other things I could be doing, and feel it is wasted time.  It may be that I don’t want to slow down enough to allow something into my head, or maybe I just have a lot going on and I’m feeling overwhelmed.  Regardless, that anxiety generally gets the better of me and about 4 of the 5 times I meditate each week I either end the meditation practice early or give in to the to-do list in my mind.

Going back to each breath, starting again, allowing each breath to be a new beginning, is such a basic idea, but so powerful.  I have the ability to start again, with each breath, and I have the ability to focus only on that breath.  Rather than thinking about the 10 or 20 minutes at the beginning of the meditation that I am attempting to sit, silently, I can just focus on that breath, and then the next one.  I can see, and live in, the here and now.  I step out of time, and I can control the busyness of my mind, even if just for one breath.

Each breath establishes my strength, my presence, and is a signal for me to begin again.

photo credit: Aristocrats-hat via photopin cc


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in pursuit of money…

English: This is a picture of Tony Hsieh, CEO ...

English: This is a picture of Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just started reading Delivering Happiness, by the CEO of Zappos.com, Tony Hsieh.  Right from the start I love this book!  He begins by going back to his early childhood, and goes through the trials and errors he experienced in his pursuit of money.  This took me back to my childhood and my childhood experiences with the newspaper route gone bad, the lemonade stand in 100 degree heat, and the dreaded door to door selling experience.

One of his first examples is a newsletter that he created and attempted to sell, ad space included.  It reminded me of how much confidence we had in our ideas, how readily we put all our effort into those ideas, and how quick we were to try something new, back when everything was new.

He then shares is his experience selling Christmas cards door to door in August, and is made to feel a bit silly about it by his first customer, since Christmas is months away.  He promptly walked back home after this one conversation, and moved on to his next pursuit of money.  While we may not remember each of these examples in our own lives, I think they taught us not only to give up at the first sign that someone doesn’t agree or laughs at our ideas, but it also taught us the safety of staying within our comfort zone.  Are we giving up too soon, not giving our ideas a chance to succeed, and are we listening too much to the many critics out there?  Are we scared to try something new because we don’t want to be laughed at, or do we simply think it is a waste of time?  As adults, how often do we really try something totally new and outside of our area of expertise or comfort?  I know for myself, the answer to this question is – not nearly enough!

I am really looking forward to learning more about Zappo’s and Tony Hsieh as I progress through this book.  I like that he writes it in his own voice, shares a lot about himself and his family, and I already get a clear sense of his personality, and his passion for greatness.  It is already speaking to me about how staying true to your ideas and sticking with it was hard, and still is hard.  I also like how his pursuit for money is also his pursuit for happiness, and have to agree that ultimately, happiness is really what we are all pursuing.


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being edgy…

Working in environments where it is important to collaborate, cooperate, and reach consensus sometimes causes us to hold back, dilute some of our more creative ideas, and give-in just so progress can be made.  I loved Danielle LaPorte’s post today, that reminds us we will always be too-much of something for the people we come across – too pushy, too loud, too quiet, too reserved…….  Basically, you can’t please everyone all the time.  But what was so impactful to me was her statement, “If you round your edges, you lose your edge.”  Thinking about perfectionism lately, it served to remind me how important it is to stay true to my authentic self.  That if I give in and try to conform too much to someone else’s standards or expectations, I will end up watering down what makes me passionate, creative, and who I am; the authentic me.

I’m not one of those people who strives to be edgy.  But, after reading Danielle’s post today, I have to admit that being edgy never looked so good.

photo credit: duncande150 via photopin cc


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my inner perfectionist…

Regardless of profession or personality, I believe that everyone aspires to do their very best; but what happens when we hit a wall regarding our ideas, motivation, or creativity?  I am a firm believer that my inner critic, aka, my inner perfectionist, regularly quashes my creativity.  It sends me on a wild goose chase and distracts me from my best ideas.  Being able to silence my inner perfectionist helps me tap into a creative mind-space that enhances my motivation, my passion, and my life.

Breaking out takes consciousness – hardly ever do I notice I am here until after the fact.  It also requires help from people who understand and agree that being a creative perfectionist is like driving a car using square wheels – it just won’t work.

Drawing your self-portrait or writing with the opposite hand will only take you so far.  These are prescribed methods to get you somewhere that you can’t define or acknowledge until you feel it, see it, and live it.  For me, trying new things breaks me out of my inner perfectionist, simply because I don’t know enough yet to over-think everything!  It is hard to be a perfectionist when you are learning along the way.  So when I started taking the online class Blogging from the Heart with Susannah Conway, I immediately started reading one of her suggested books, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.  My experience reading this book is like sitting with a mentor and teacher, being guided by someone who can help me laugh at myself, while giving me the freedom to find my own way.  I like that it doesn’t give us a prescription for “success”, whatever that even means.  It guides us, makes us think, and laugh, and reminds us that there are others out there fighting their inner perfectionist imperfectly each day.

Over the last 3 weeks I have continued to go back to this book again and again for wisdom, insight, and a reminder to enjoy the journey along the way.


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go where the peace is…

Image credit: bravegirlsclub.com

Really connecting with people, lots of people, in a way that inspires both minds and hearts in an authentic way…. Those are the people and the organizations that I want to support, surround myself with, and share with EVERYONE.  Reading another fantastic blog post on Brave Girls Club about how to “Go where the PEACE is” made me so thankful for what they do, who they are, and for staying authentic in a way that continues to inspire.

Without much context, going where the peace is may seem lofty or unrealistic, especially when frustration hits us.  What is unique about this post is that it reminds us that we have total control over when and how often we go where the peace is.   It is not up to my colleagues, my spouse, or my next door neighbor.  It is not up to how much money is in the bank, how many bills are due, or how many items are on my ever-expanding to-do list.  One of the activities in the online Art School class I am taking with the Brave Girls Club is all about finding our personal mantra.  Something that really speaks to us, inspires us, and shifts us back into a perspective that will help us through the difficult times.  I have thought about it for days, writing a few down, nothing really feeling right, until now.  My mantra:

Choose to go where the peace is