What the mind conceives: a good luck talisman for success

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The other night at the gym, the women’s workout room was packed full of all ages, sizes and shapes. It can be a challenge, but I try to avoid comparison making. However, I must admit I struggled with envy over one woman. Not the way her hair remained perfect during her workout while my ponytail stuck to the back of my neck. Or how she didn’t break a sweat while she lifted yet I smelled, coincidentally, like an onion. Or how her outfit was color coordinated while I sported the throw-it-together-and-hope-I-match look. It was her pink workout gloves I couldn’t stop looking at. Seriously: pink workout gloves. In the past, I’ve attributed more focused yoga practices to a new mat or fun new shorts. So why not a stronger workout session with pretty workout gloves? Yes, I bought new ones. And yes, I lifted better. What the mind conceives, the body achieves. At least that’s the story I’m sticking to.

What is your good luck talisman for success?

How (not) to be miserable for the rest of your life

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How not to be miserable


A recent disappointment cast a close family member into a weeklong mopefest, binging on Netflix and junk food. I told her it’s OK to throw a pity party, as long as she doesn’t pitch a tent and take residence. And then there’s Rob, the employee at my neighborhood grocery store who was diagnosed last year with stage three lung cancer. This past week I ran into him and learned his recent CT scan uncovered new growths on his lungs. For the first 24 hours after receiving the news, he holed himself off from the world. Then he picked himself up and said, ‘OK, I don’t want to be miserable for the rest of my life so let’s do this.’ Sometimes my pity parties last a day or two before I adjust my attitude. Because attitude is everything, isn’t it? Or at least half the battle. And our minds believe what we tell them. So remember: every situation is temporary. Now let’s do this.

Does your attitude need adjusting?

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Full steam ahead

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The little engine


In my post ‘Celebrating small victories’ I talk about how consistency often leads to improvement, however minuscule. Each day is different, whether pertaining to my workouts or my journey toward becoming a published novelist but, as long as I focus on what I can do rather than dwell on what I cannot do—then the sum of each week inevitably reveals a steady climb toward my dreams. When I brake to evaluate my progress, the daily changes are not monumental. But, cumulatively, I’m closer to Someday than I was yesterday. I’ve learned, too, that voicing your goals to the naysayers might derail your plans unless you’re prepared to stand firm in the face of your critics. This might mean participating in activities or lifestyle choices that both affirm and advance your ambitions. And, instead of allowing a limiting belief to stop you at ‘I think I can,’ take it full steam ahead and repeat after yourself: ‘I know I can!

What limiting belief stops you in your tracks?

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Working out the cobwebs

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In my post ‘Fodder to fuel a passionate life,’ I talk about my recent adventure on the road, absorbed in all things books. The following morning, decked out in layers to accommodate the desert morning chill, I returned to my muse, this time the mountain trails beneath my newly broken-in boots and sunshine lighting my path. En route, I chose one character from the book I ‘wrote’ aloud during last month’s hike and, for two hours, I fleshed out a 3-D person as real as you or me. The key, I learned in a weekend workshop, is to plot your story via motivation. The clearer picture you develop of the individuals who live and breathe on the page, the more believable they will be to your reader. And, if you’re lucky, your characters might end up writing the book for you. Those two hours zipped by before I knew it—another creative and physical workout under my belt. Until next time.

How do you work out the cobwebs?

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Fodder to fuel a passionate life

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My much-anticipated adventure I alluded to in ‘That’s why they call it the blues’ entailed 250 miles, four hours of rubber hitting the pavement—mountains to the right and left of me, in front of and behind—and seven hours divided between hiking across the University of Arizona campus and sitting in on writers’ panels, workshops, readings and seminars. A book lover’s dream, the Tucson Festival of Books caters to writers, readers, travelers and artists; a place to network, meet favored authors and add to the tips of the trade. It’s a world where I bump into the same familiar faces as I traverse the writer’s circuit, gathering material to improve upon the craft. There is always a takeaway and no time is wasted when I’m fully immersed in the moment. Whether I’m lost in my fictional world or present in my reality, every person, conversation, challenge, pleasure, etc., is fodder to fuel a passionate life. On and off the page.

Where does your passion wholly come alive?

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Learning from our mistakes

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Learning from our mistakes


We met 22 years earlier and, despite two dozen-plus years between us, we clicked. A big sister of sorts, she trained me in so I could fill her office shoes while she vacationed. But when she returned to the workplace more than a week later, she learned she had cancer. My temp assignment stretched into long term. We developed a friendship over homemade meals I delivered and commonalities we discovered. I stayed on for a year once she came back and we worked well together. After changing jobs, we shared coffee dates and strolls through her neighborhood, mourned our respective parents’ deaths and exchanged cards and phone calls. Yet I could’ve done more. Just this week I learned from her sister that she lost her fight to cancer two months ago. My heart is heavy and I am once again reminded how little it takes to maintain a connection. And, when we don’t, we miss out on what truly matters in life.

What lesson have you recently learned?

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How a kick-in-the-butt can change your life

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Crazy bird, she was. Only flew when no one watched.
None could keep her. All failed to train her.
Funny name she had. Time.
~ Anonymous


My recent post, ‘Tick tock…,’ talks about time and our elusive grasp on it. I can actually define the catalyst—or kick in the butt—that snapped me out of my Rip Van Winkle state, the one where I slept away more than twice the amount of time as the fictional character. I call it BC and AC. Before I re-enrolled to complete my undergraduate degree, my life felt ‘tiny,’ unimaginative. Timid. After college (and also while attending classes for my Bachelor of Arts in Literature, Writing & Film), my world became vast, inspired. Daring. How differently my path might have unfolded had I attended college before middle age. Yet, I wouldn’t trade my experiences or the connections I built, the new tricks I learned and still do. The important thing is where I go from here: forward.

What’s your life’s catalyst?

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That’s why they call it the blues

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The blues


The evening following a recent hike I succumbed to the doldrums. The next morning I was no better. I could blame it on the denouement of a fun-filled weekend and the start to a new week that both proved lackluster at best. Or maybe the break from the Bikram yoga hot room placed my last nerves on edge. As hard as I tried to tap into the root of these feelings, the further from a solution I positioned myself. Yet, deep down, I knew the reason. In the midst of a weekend void of commitment, I neglected to commit to the one thing that affords the most soothing balm to my psyche: write. When I finally accepted my culpability, I experienced a loosening in my soul, a pardoning if you will. And I proceeded, with enthusiasm, to arrange an upcoming writing adventure that promises to transport me not only into the mountains next time, but on the road. Stay tuned.

What is a significant blues-maker in your life?

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Tick tock: time keeps on slippin’ slippin’ slippin’

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Tick tock


Over the weekend I made another trip into the mountains. While breaking in my new trail shoes and greeting several hikers who also took advantage of the cooler desert morning dappled in cloud cover, I reflected on all the good in my life (which covered the majority of the two-hour loop). I thought, too, about how our lives mimic an hourglass that accumulates with sand over the years until, when full—let’s say at the mid-century mark—the hourglass is tipped and the sands begin to empty. In my post “Holy crap says it all,” my proverbial clock ticks at what feels like warp speed. A sense of urgency fuels my plans now yet, years ago, I didn’t think twice about wasting away my days engaging in meaningless pastimes. Although we can’t slow the sands of time, we can fill our given moments with pursuits of the heart that will remain long after the hourglass sands run dry.

How does your life reflect the emptying sands of time?

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The longest week ever

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Longest day ever


This past week stands out as one of the ‘longest weeks ever.’ On Monday morning when my alarm went off at 4:45, my first thought had been: ‘Why is my alarm set so early on a Sunday?’ From that moment on, each day dragged longer than the previous 24 hours. When I mentioned this to my boss, he said, ‘Life goes by fast, so we might as well appreciate the long weeks when we experience them.’ And I did extend gratefulness every day by: honoring my body with healthy food and exercise; writing and reading to maintain an active mind; chipping away at my daily tasks so once the weekend arrives, I can enjoy it sans commitment. It’s been too long since I last indulged in the luxury of a weekend where I’m not expected to be in a certain place at a certain time. This makes the wait worth the long days I not only survived, but thrived.

How do you make the most of each day?

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