Inspiration for the long haul: drawing from our inner ‘chutzpah’

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Grain by grain, a loaf;
stone by stone, a castle.
~ Yugoslavian proverb

My emotional barometer oftentimes resembles the ups and downs of a roller coaster. Maybe that’s why I associate life—and its proverbial thrill ride—to the popular amusement attraction. For example, between the peaks and valleys, I’m traveling high on the adrenaline that fuels my passion for the written word—whether I’m composing an interview for a commercial trade publication or crafting a two-sentence writing workshop assignment. Yet, on the opposite spectrum, my stomach drops as I’m awash with tremendous feelings of guilt and derision—berating myself for the time I’m wasting on the pursuit of “pipe dreams.” Thankfully, however, each of us possesses a middle ground—a place in which we can draw from our inner “chutzpah,” to keep on keeping on, rather than plunge into the depths of limiting beliefs and doubts. But it begins, first, by reminding ourselves why we chose our path.

How do you stay inspired for the long haul?

Image courtesy of everydayplus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

How to determine if you’re an amateur or a professional

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In a recent post, I talk about taking massive action to fight for your goals. The article I reference focuses on the importance of changing our mindsets. And that it isn’t just trying something once, or trying and failing and then quitting. It means trying until we get the results we want; i.e., mastering daily habits that ultimately lead to success. According to James Clear, author of Atomic Habits and the creator of the Habits Academy, it’s about the power of schedule and creating a daily routine. Clear says, “Stop waiting for motivation or creative inspiration to strike you and set a schedule for your habits. This is the difference between professionals and amateurs. Professionals set a schedule and stick to it. Amateurs wait until they feel inspired or motivated.” Further, give yourself permission to deliver a less-than-average outcome. “The only way to be consistent enough to make a masterpiece is to give yourself permission to create junk along the way.”

So what’s the verdict—amateur or pro?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Walking proof: the catalyst to inspire

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After a recent sweat session—aka Bikram yoga class—I conversed with a young lady who practices at the same studio. Her story inspires: 50 pounds heavier last year, she suffered with depression perpetuated by the chronic recitation of self-defeating thoughts and words. One day, she began to listen to and read positive affirmations daily and also established an at-home yoga practice. These new habits served as the catalyst for the person she is today, one who exudes confidence from the sparkle in her eyes to the smile that lights up her face. She knows she’s amazing and beautiful (she repeats this mantra habitually). What’s her secret? She mentioned synchronicity—the simultaneous occurrence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection. Yet we both know it’s what I tout in my posts: That what we think, what we believe and what we speak are essential to attracting abundance in our lives. This young lady is walking proof.

What does your life prove about you?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Got faith? Your story isn’t over yet.

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On any given weekend over the past several months, I’ve hung my “closed” sign, packed my bags and driven up north. Each time, these getaways prove a source of inspiration and a form of self-care. Opportunities to refresh from “the grind,” to rediscover and reconnect with who I am—a faith-filled wife, mother, sister, employee, friend, writer, yogi, hiker and dreamer. And what I desire out of this one life—simple pleasures like that first sip of liquid magic in the mornings before the sun makes its ascent; autumn’s burst of vibrant color; raw, belly laughter; music and books that stir my soul; a connection between two hearts. To be a light in the world. To make a difference. Yet even if a lone tear slips from my eye when plans fail, I still choose to be grateful, knowing it’s simply part of my story. One that’s not over yet. After all, when our faith is tested, our endurance earns a chance to grow.

How’s your faith life?

What *not* to do while hiking

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What not to do while hiking

 

My post ‘Responding to life’s challenges…,’ proved a bit too real during a recent hike. You know the saying, ‘pride goes before a fall?’ After an almost six-mile trek in the mountains up to Inspiration Viewpoint, I felt invincible. I never enjoyed athleticism as a younger person—exercise consisted of mandatory gym class, playing tag or riding bikes with neighbor kids, swim lessons on Saturdays and performing on my senior high pom-pom line. Yet over the past half dozen years I’ve become enamored with working out, practicing Bikram yoga, hiking. Since celebrating my half-century birthday this past December, I cannot get enough of: living. And I’m in the best shape of my life. So, as I jogged the final stretch of trail that morning, I got cocky. Bruised and battered the left side of my body, both knees. A challenge I met with humor and, hopefully, the grace I lacked when I tripped and fell—a lesson that didn’t break me.

When have you learned a painful lesson?

Take a hike: where my mojo woke up

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take a hike

 

I’ve called the Southwest home for more than 16 years and, although I view the mountains daily, hike them on occasion, share the scenic panorama with visiting friends and family, this past weekend I fell in love with the rugged and mysterious desert beauty all over again. It only took two hours and 5.3 miles of exploring the Sonoran Preserve to make that happen. It was almost as if I saw the majestic outcroppings, yellow-white orb hung low in the bluest of blue cloudless skies, for the first time. As I traipsed solo over the rocky trail, while remaining alert for native desert dwellers crossing my path, I wrote a book. It’s a story I’ve chewed on for months—more of an outline than a whole book, with holes to fill. It might be a fluke, but I believe the mountains could be my new go-to place for inspiration. Now to transcribe the story from memory. Or to take another hike.

Where does your mojo wake itself up?

Fanning the flames

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Fanning the flames

 

Here we are, two months down in the New Year, 10 to go. Some days I think I’ve got the ‘simple thing’ down to an art, other days I flounder with too much to do and less time… to do. When heading more often into the latter direction, it takes effort to jump off the treadmill for a self-prescribed timeout. Remember, too much of a good thing doesn’t mean it’s good for us. When we forget to breathe, we lose ourselves. Last weekend I spent an afternoon with a girlfriend at an outdoor mall. Gorgeous weather, engaging company and I found a couple of fun tops. The following day, a planned ‘make-up’ day, I enjoyed a chunk of time on the patio, along with my daughter, basking in another amazing Southwest afternoon. Consequently, this week is pretty busy, but I’ve spread out my tasks. After all, moments with friends and family—savoring the simple things—fan the flames of my inspiration and my motivation.

What fans your flames?

Image courtesy of Toa55@FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

The ‘write’ conditions

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The write conditions

 

In my post, “When you need a new plan,” I talk about how I would never write if I waited for the perfect conditions. Shortly after composing that blog, I carved out time to give my office a mini-makeover. I didn’t hang any framed inspirational quotes or light scented candles to infuse creativity. But I did toss, file and throw errant miscellanea in a bag for future [read: likely never] perusal. Despite the clutter control I attempt to enforce, not everything retains a spot in my home, however, my desk is now free of excess papers and the floor space around my feet is clear. It’s not perfect, although it is a start. I think that’s a good reminder when we embark on any endeavor—whether it’s mending a friendship, beginning a new job, planning a getaway or whatever it is we’ve been putting off for the ‘write,’ or right, conditions. We all have to start somewhere.

What have you been waiting for the right conditions to undertake?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

A soul-weary, dried-up muse

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Soul-weary_dried up muse

 

[Image credit: digitalart]

My muse is dried up and I feel soul weary. I want to write, I need to write … I have to write. But I don’t know what to write. So what is the remedy? Do I force myself to stare at a blank computer screen/piece of paper until inspiration strikes? Do I chalk off my dreams as silly whims? Do I give myself a break and identify that what I’m going through is a season and all seasons eventually change? Each of us processes setbacks differently. Reading, for me, is a perfect escape from reality. I think I’m going to read until I can’t read anymore—or until my muse is unstopped and I can fill up that one void only writing can satisfy. And just like anything else I’m going through—whether an emotional, mental or physical challenge—I need to remember to be gentle with myself. It could be that my soul is simply preparing for a much-needed breakthrough.

How do you recover from setbacks?

Doing my homework

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[Image credit: patpitchaya]

There is creative reading as well as creative writing.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Facebook is my “lifeline” to friends and family.  And sometimes it allows me to measure myself against who’s doing what — a way to live vicariously through the ones who are experiencing their dreams.  One friend, in particular, is my daily inspiration and someone I’ve written about in the past.  While I churn out my daily 200-odd word blog or write about beauty concerns or whatever my latest topic is, she returns home from work to pound out thousands of words on her latest novel.  Whereas, my ideas either remain on the back burner waiting to see the light of day, or they’ve been conceived, only to die a slow and forgettable death.  Very little seems to incite me enough to pledge my blood, sweat and tears to the bigger task.  I’ve been reading a lot, though.  I figure if I’m not writing the stories I desire to orchestrate, then I can at least be studying the craft.  And the more familiar I am with the subject matter, the better results I’ll have … when I’m ready.  So if you see me with book in hand, just assume I’m doing my homework.

Is there something you aren’t doing because you lack the right tools … or motivation?

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