Read & Watch

Hearing crickets (or, maybe you’re not going crazy)

About two years ago, I went into a pet shop to grab cat litter and heard a cricket chirping away. Without giving it too much thought, I made up the story that the little critter snuck his way in via a bag of feed and was holed up in the ceiling rafters, singing his song ‘til his death. (I also imagined that the cashier couldn’t wait for it to die. It’s a sound that would most certainly get annoying anywhere but in a garden on a summer’s evening with a chilled glass of sangria.) Every time I’ve passed the pet shop since, a vision of a little cricket carcass up in the ceiling tiles has flashed before my eyes. And then this silent question: Did I REALLY hear that cricket? And then this narrative: Huh. Maybe I didn’t. Maybe I imagined it, or it was part of one of those waking dreams. Odd, but not the oddest one I’ve had. I mean, it was the dead of winter. How impossible that a cricket would find it’s way into a store and survive in the rafters for like, three months? Unlikely, to be sure. Every.single.time. And I pass that pet shop a LOT. Passed it again yesterday. And saw this. Aha. I finally have my answer. I’ve spent the last two years passing that sign, not actually SEEING it and continuing to give time and space to that nonsensical narrative.  Sometimes we doubt what we know to be true. And we even ignore the signs that are right there. Stop doing that. (I will too.) Or more helpfully: Pay attention to the divine winks that remind you what you already know, even when you’ve chosen to forget. (Tweet this) Hold space for the possibility that you were right all along. Chances are, you were. +++++ Okay. Now. Maybe you think you’re hearing metaphorical crickets in your business. (See how I did that?) No one seems to be showing up. I’m not going to lie…You might well be. But that doesn’t mean that your offering is wrong. Or that your marketing it wrong. Or that anything is wrong. Take the time in the relative silence and root back into the why of your offering. Back to when you loved it and trusted it and it loved and trusted you. Pay attention to those divine winks who’ll lead you home. Back to that loving feeling. In that...

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Design your 2015…in ten minutes flat.

I want to tell you all of the magical things that happened in 2014. (Celebration loves company and you are exquisitely good company.) I want to tell you about the brilliant lights who showed up for Step into Your Starring Role (and the ways that they’ve shaped their worlds in their claimed roles). I want to say more about my dreamy collaboration with Lauren for Beyond Compare and the ripples of impact that we’re seeing from those who have stepped into the depths of the work. I want to tell you about the conversations, the meals, the interviews, the travel, the breakthroughs, the healing, the community, the opportunities and the highs Highs HIGHS that made 2014. AND? The LOWS, Lows, lows of 2014. It’s all part of the glorious jumble that is this messy and blessed life. But…I’m feeling way more called to be useful and helpful to YOU. So let’s put the focus on YOU. Specifically, on your 2015. I know you’re busy. I know I know I know. And? If you take me up on this wee task, I promise it will be a gift to you that you’ll thank us both for, so pour a second (third?) cup of rooibos or Peet’s and DO THIS NOW. Write a letter to yourself from December 30th 2015. Remember your 5th grade teacher had you write one of these? Thrilling to see all that YOU made happen in 12 short months, wasn’t it? Write it but good. Free form, like you’re writing to yourself…’cause you are. Quirky, like you. Charming, like you. Effusive, like you. Truthful, like you. It’s a letter of all that you’ve seen and experienced and won and conquered and overcome and delivered and done and healed and enjoyed in 2015. Write it from the perspective that all of these wondrous things have happened…’cause you’ve made ‘em happen. If this takes more than ten minutes, you’re probably overthinking it. (Maybe something to consider overcoming in 2015?) And if what you write doesn’t quicken your heart rate, you’re probably low-balling it. (Maybe something ELSE to consider overcoming in 2015?) Notice how the “theme” and the “word” and all other goal-setting 101 staples that you’ve been struggling to name start to reveal themselves. Notice how the plan you’ve been white-knuckling to map out starts to take shape. And then you’ll see, really see how magical things happen when we remove ourselves from...

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The same old song: Our jobs as creators and fans.

+++++++ Whether you create (and you do) or are a fan of art (and you are), may this post offer you comfort, inspiration, or something in between. With love, ++++++ To the Creators. I’ve been giving variations on the same talk for a long time now, and it was beginning to make me feel like Peggy Fleming skating to a medley from Fiddler on the Roof. Perhaps this is what Fleming’s audience would want to see – left to our devices, we often want what is smooth and familiar and instantly warm.  – Anne Lamott (Traveling Mercies) As the reader, I of course rooted for Lamott to give a brand-spankin’ new talk. One delivered from a place of fresh truth, freedom and expansion, happily assured that her audience would rise to meet her with thunderous applause and the adoration of a thousand fiery suns. Turns out, when Lamott DID change up her talk, it was an unmitigated disaster. Sonorous silence, but for the lone cricket chirping away, looking for his mate. (It’s possible that I made that detail up being one of my own grade A biggie speaking fears. Yours too?) As a fan of people taking big risks, swinging out and saying the truth, it’s really important, (and feels like it’s my civic duty) to point to a couple of contributing factors to the public speaking nightmare that unraveled on that stage. 1) The first is that she didn’t prepare. And the talk, in her words, bombed. We know this: if you’re a speaker, you must prepare and practice and train like it’s your job…’cause from the stage, that IS your job. Fin. 2) The second fact is that the crowd was disappointed that they weren’t getting exactly what they were thirsting for. Which is what she’d been delivering time and time again and they were used to it. They knew what to expect. Kinda like when you go to sip your wine and realize all too soon that you’ve sipped your kid’s milk. Kinda like that, but more cerebral-like. And frankly, that’ll happen any time we deviate from the script that is “smooth and familiar and instantly warm”. Which is why so few deviate from the script. Which is ALSO why there is so little new, fresh and evolved. And that there are so many creative one-hit wonders (who succumbed to the Impostor Complex.) Remember Elizabeth Gilbert’s...

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My 42nd Birthday…and a Sale!

I’ll tell you about the sale in a moment. But FIRST? The backstory. I’m turning 42 this year. Today, to be precise. I’m happy about that. It’s an age that has some heft. It feels…substantial, but not weighty. It feels right and good. Neither old, nor young. Just where I’m at. I also know good things are coming this year. I can feel them. I catch twinkles, sparkles and glimmers out of the corner of my eye. And I’m abundantly ready for what they’re about to reveal. And yet, it’s a curious number, this 42. There are 42 Oreos in a 1-lb box. Elvis Presley died at 42. It’s a pronic number and an abundant number (yeah, I don’t know what that means). There are also 42 dots on a pair of dice (and who ever plays with only one die?) But of course, 42 is also the numeric Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything, according to Douglas Adams in The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy. (If you’re looking for a way to spend an idle 20 minutes, google “42 meaning fan theories”.) What IS the Ultimate Question, you ask? Now THAT’S a good question. It’s never revealed, because it’s never asked, because it’s never known. Deliciously absurd. So, because it’s MY birthday (and I’ll posit if I want to), here’s what I think. I think the ACTUAL question to life, the universe, and everything is “what are we here to do?” And I think the ANSWER to the ACTUAL question to life, the universe, and everything is to “make the most of this life AND treat each other right”. There it is. I’ve been afraid to share this for fear that it’s overly simplistic, not profound, or cerebral enough (oh, HELLO Impostor Complex). But at 42, I’m making peace with the fact that stunningly simple is also my kind of genius. And who am I to dismiss the very belief that has informed my life since I was a very very young girl. I’ve been guided to where I am by continuing to ask: How do I create the life that I truly want in the kindest, most considerate, most loving, most empathetic and most compassionate way possible? How to make an impact while I’m here while still treading lightly and treating others well? How do I support others while supporting myself? Usually, the...

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Blinded by jealousy?

It’s not your fault. That’s what jealousy does. It blinds you. Or, more accurately, it only allows you a partial view of someone’s fortune, life, experience and obscures the rest. And because we humans just can’t cope with uncertainty, we fill in the blanks with our imaginations. A little something like this: If someone you’re eyeing is enjoying the success you desire, then they must also be enjoying the intimacy you crave. If they have the friendships you dream of, they must also have the financial stability you yearn for. This AND that. Jealousy deals in absolutes, with little room for nuance or space for discernment. AND? With little allowance for the capital “t” Truth. We see what we choose to see and are blind to the rest.  Maybe you know that the French word for jealousy is “jalousie”. But did you also know that a “jalousie” is also a window shutter with angled horizontal slats? Also know as a…(wait for it)…“blind”? Funny thing about jalousies…they are designed to allow you to see outside without being seen yourself. (You see where we’re going here, right?) Yeah…jealousy and blind go hand in hand. But, of course, jealousy is also an on-point teacher. A snarling, frothing, lusting, hot-breathed swamp dog of a teacher, mind you, but an on-point teacher just the same. Within what you choose to see (and what you’ve made up that you see) lie your desires:  success, intimacy, relationships, and financial stability. Knowing what you want, of course,  IS the first step in making what you want to happen, HAPPEN. And here’s what I want for you: I want for you to come out from behind the blinds that offer such a limited view of others. And such a limited view of yourself and what’s available.  I want you to experience the fullness of the person you feel jealousy towards. And to experience the fullness of yourself. Just add curiosity. I want for you to see how relative this all is. I want you to bring some compassion into the fold. For you. For them. For the next time you feel jealous (and you will). I want you to see, REALLY see, that the magnificence that you’ve projected onto them is but a prism caught in the light of your own magnificent potential.  I want you to get out from behind the blinds of jealousy and into that light.   Because the light, the light…oh it’s so very much warmer in the light....

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Limits & Limitlessness: The Ampersand Series

{This piece is part of a brand new suite of posts called The Ampersand Series…an exploration of two sides of the same coin. See my why in the footer of this post.} Limits Limits offer parameters. They create order and safety and understanding. Limits can be helpful structures that, at their best, serve to cordon off danger, clearly delineating where something ceases to be safe. Knowing where the line lives can be quite empowering. Speed limits. Alcohol limits. Bandwidth. “I mean, most parents would be proud of a kid like that – good-lookin’ and smart and everything, but they gave in to him all the time. He kept trying to make someone say ‘No’ and they never did. They never did. That was what he wanted. For somebody to tell him ‘No.’ To have somebody lay down the law, set the limits, give him something solid to stand on. That’s what we all want, really.”  – S. E. Hinton Yeah. We can stand solidly in a limit. And FOR a limit. Enough is a powerful proclamation. The trouble with limits Most limits are rooted in ancient cultural traditions, maths and sciences. They often represent our best guesses at the time that they were decreed. And still, they are mostly human constructs…and we know how fallible humans can be. By definition, limits create scarcity. Within the container of limits, there’s only so much space, creativity, money, opportunity, room at the top to go around. And when we buy into the structure of scarcity…well, you know how well that tends to work. “Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours.” – Richard Bach & Limitlessness What’s not to love about limitlessness? It means that everything is possible. Imagine that. REALLY imagine that. You can create anything, ANYTHING you want. From here. With exactly what you have. An infinite array of choices and options and chances and outcomes are yours if you just make up your mind and set course. Just like that. (Did that paragraph set your heart ablaze, or have you wanting to hide under your duvet? Either response is perfectly sane.) The trouble with limitlessness “For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.” – Carl Sagan The reality is that the very notion of limitlessness often creates a sense of agoraphobia. Untethered existence and uncharted territory CAN feel very isolating. For some. Which...

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