Intuition – Day 24

The secret of fortune is joy in our hands. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Prompt: If you could picture your intuition as a person, what would he or she look like? If you sat down together for dinner, what is the first thing he or she would tell you? (Author: Susan Piver)


Who is She?

You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself. – Alan Alda

Magician. Mountain climber. Mystic or miracle worker. Teacher or preacher. I can’t quite describe the person I just met at dinner. All I know is her name is Intuition. She reminds me of someone I’ve met before with her quiet, unassuming demeanor. She appears to be a youthful free spirit, but her wisdom and experience defy those appearances. Is she really an ageless old soul? She knows much, travels everywhere and does everything. Here is what she told me.

She once worked as a magician doing disappearing acts. I asked her how she did it. Since the mind was quicker than the eyes, she was able to suspend people’s disbelief about what they saw and what they thought they saw. Her magic was convincing people to believe in the unknown and unseen.

Her favorite sport is mountain climbing. She finds it exhilarating “to leave the city of your comfort” and climb new heights, discover untrodden vistas and explore unrealized possibilities. Intuition said, “Life is yours to dream and yours to bring alive.”

She is a teacher by profession, although many describe her as a preacher. She says she uses her wit, experiences and insights primarily to teach her students to rely on themselves. And when they are overwhelmed or stuck, she says students depend on her wisdom for guidance, her passion for feelings, and her shoulders to lean on. Most of her time as a teacher is spent nudging and pestering students to use what they have to get where they’re going.

The encounter with Intuition was strange and enlightening. She was a transformative person. Yet, who she really is still eludes me. Chameleon, shapeshifter or mirage? My instincts sense that Intuition and I are destined to cross paths again. I wonder if I’ll ignore her?

Courage to Connect – Day 23

Men imagine that they communicate their virtue or vice only by overt actions, and do not see that virtue or vice emit a breath every moment. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Prompt: Who is one person that you’ve been dying to connect with, but just haven’t had the courage to reach out to? First, reflect on why you want to get in touch with them. Then, reach out and set up a meeting. (Author: David Spinks)

Connection Kinships

At an early age, I learned to connect to most people thanks to my parents. They taught me how and why to connect with family, strangers, the famous, my faith and myself. My connection kinships sustained and fortified me throughout my life and gave me the courage to reach beyond my visions.

Mine was a peripatetic life. I grew up moving much and being the new girl in the classroom and community often. My siblings served as my closest friends, but my parents taught us to connect beyond our boundaries by making new friends. They showed us how to stay connected to faraway relatives through letters while living overseas, occasional phone calls (pre-cellphone and Skype) and summer vacations to Mississippi and Texas.

My parents taught us to build connections with those who spoke, thought and appeared different from us. We learned to connect with the powerless and the powerful. My mother told us to face people, not fear them. She proved the power of connecting when she wrote the CEO of a major hotel company asking for a complimentary suite for the weekend my father returned from a tour of duty in Vietnam—and she got it. She proved the need to connect when she wrote a major hamburger chain seeking food donations for a community celebration—and they donated. I also was taught how to connect to my long gone heroes—Gandhi, Zora Neale Hurston, Abe Lincoln, Madam C.J. Walker, Jackie Robinson and others—through books or bonds with existing relatives.

From youth, the courage to connect was instilled in me. Today, I continue reaching out to those I want to meet and, like my mother, sometimes the results are overwhelming. Yet, the most important connection I’ve made has been the one with myself. Personal connecting from time to time is a necessity that keeps me grounded and attuned to self. While connections to humanity help me understand that fears are conquerable, worries are unfounded, loss is never ending, we survive and life continues; connection to myself helps me evolve from a restless searching spirit into a person with a purpose.

Enthusiasm – Day 22

“Trust thyself:  every heart vibrates to that iron string. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Prompt:  If there’s no enthusiasm in what you do, it won’t be remarkable and certainly won’t connect with people on an emotional basis. But, if you put that magic energy into all of your work, you can create something that touches people on a deeper level. How can you bring MORE enthusiasm into your work? What do you have to think or believe about your work to be totally excited about it? Answer it now. (Author: Mars Dorian)

Passion + Purpose = Good Works

Work is love made visible.  – Kahlil Gibran

Time is precious.  Passion and purpose motivate.  They push me to explore, discover and create.  Work becomes play.  That’s excitement.

Fun - Drawing by Flo

Work that I can fall in love with attracts and excites me.  I can sense it from the beginning when I’m flirting around with the possibilities of pursuing a new project or purpose.  My inner questions are always the same.  Does what I’m about to undertake appeal to my senses?  Will my attraction to it be worth the time spent with it?  How will the work make me feel? Giddy and excited?  Renewed and reawakened?  Does the work get under my skin, inside the marrow of bones, and penetrate my heart?   Will those feelings last?  Will they be the same tomorrow, next month or next year?  Or will I lose that loving feeling?

Love is fickle.  Time is wasted.  Attractions create distractions.  Nothing is quite like those first moments when work is new and feelings of enthusiasm, energy, and excitement arouse the senses and motivate the heart and mind.

Love is work.  It takes work to hold on to those first feelings.  It takes work to rekindle waning excitement.  It takes work to remain open to new possibilities on old projects.  It takes a passionate purpose to keep enthusiasm at the forefront of the work.

Time runs out.  But passion and purpose endure.  I see it in ancient art created, classic books written and people committed to good works then and now.  And that motivates me to keep doing what I love and loving what I do.  Good works, that’s what I get totally excited about and that’s what I want to do.

You Know – Day 21

Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Prompt:   We live in a society of advice columns, experts and make-over shows. Without even knowing it, you can begin to believe someone knows better than you how to live your life…For today, trying asking yourself often, especially before you make a choice, “What do I know about this?” (Author:  Jen Louden)

Musical Chairs - Photo by Flo

I Know This

Here’s what I know about this.  Before making a choice about many things, a taste of anxiety, tidbits of fear and thoughts of “what do I know” seep into my psyche.  To choose is difficult, tedious and risky.

To find out “what do I know” and don’t know,  I  set out on a search.   I list the pros and cons of choosing one direction over another.   If I can’t develop a list, I realize how little I know.   With limited knowledge, I continue my search.  I read, research, and reach out to other voices and views.  I expose myself to knowledge.   My mind takes it in and lets it simmer.   I sit still in silence and think.  Some times stillness overcomes me for a few minutes, other times a few days.   My ruminating is limited only by a deadline–mine or another’s.  Then somewhere in the stillness of constant thought, a spark lights the way and I know.  It may hit me when I’m alone during the blackness of night or the brightness of dawn.  It may hit while attending a major league football game or at a crowded concert.  When it hits, I know the choice I must make.

Once I know what to do, “what if” begins to infiltrate my thoughts.   Yet, I rely on “the integrity of my mind.”   I let go.  And I am comforted knowing self-reliance guides me to do the right thing in the right way at the right time.

Speak Less – Day 20

What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know I. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Prompt: I once received a fortune cookie that read: “Speak less of your plans, you’ll get more done.” What’s one project that you’ve been sitting on and thinking about but haven’t made progress on? What’s stopping you? What would happen if you actually went for it and did it? (Author: Laura Kimball)

Writings on the Wall photo by Flo

Write On

 I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all.  ~Richard Wright, American Hunger, 1977

To write anything regularly—a blog, short stories, essays or an article—has been my long-time other goal.  How do I write more?  How do I continue writing after this challenge ends?

Empty my mind.   Allow more space and freedom for creativity to flow.  Push and poke myself to fill more blank pages with the free flow of my thoughts.

Speak less.  Write more.  Replace verbal voices with written words.

Listen consciously.  Hear the whispers of my heart that gnaw on my soul.  Trust the quiet sounds of my authentic voice to convey life and notions of life.

Finally, I must write.  I must capture those crazy creative sentiments, snatch those fleeting thoughts, and use my writer’s voice to express myself.  I must open my mind and “hurl words into this darkness” as long as there are truths to write about and eyes to read them.

Facing (and Fearing) – Day 19

Greatness appeals to the future. If I can be firm enough to-day to do right, and scorn eyes, I must have done so much right before as to defend me now. Be it how it will, do right now. Always scorn appearances, and you always may. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Prompt: Trusting intuition and making decisions based on it is the most important activity of the creative artist and entrepreneur. (Author:  Dan Andrews)

Fall Up

We all fall.  We fall out of the womb and into life.  We fall off the edge.  We fall on bad times.  We fall prey to schemes and scrupulous scandals.

Babies learning to walk fall.  The brave baby gets back up and tries again.  The frightened one returns to the comfort of crawling a bit longer.

We fall in love.  Couples meet, passion pulls and love hits.  We fall out of love.  A heart breaks.  One lover waits, recuperates and loves again.  The other fights fear, embraces doubts and retreats to avoid losing to love repeatedly.

Drawing by Flo

We fall off the wagon.  We have vices to end and vital changes to begin.   Quit smoking and start exercising more.  Quit overeating and start dieting.  Quit procrastinating and start doing.  A routine begins and ends too soon.  A fallen few start over and finish.   Other fallen ones quit.

We all fall.  We need to fall up.  We need to emulate the baby who keeps on keeping on finally walking.  We need to fall up like those who never give up on love.   We need to keep getting back up into the wagon no matter how many times we fall out of it.

Falling down is easy, but falling up is easier.  Falling up keeps us in constant motion. Movement—a heartbeat, breath flowing, blood running through our veins—keeps us alive. And living is what it’s all about.  Keep falling up.

Dreams – Day 18

Roadway, low horizon, mountains, clouded sky, ...

Image by The U.S. National Archives via Flickr

Abide in the simple and the noble regions of thy life, obey the heart.  – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Prompt:  Write down your top three dreams.  Now write down what’s holding you back from them.   (Author: Michael Rad)

Three Dreams   

Dreams come and go.  Here are three dreams monopolizing my mind at this moment.

Dream  1:  Completing the SG project.  The hold back:  wanting to release a perfect product instead of releasing a product that can constantly be perfected.

Dream 2:  Launching a multicultural greeting card business.  The hold back:  few since the dream is turning into reality.

Dream 3:  Remaining open to new possibilities.  The hold back:  moments of sleep walking through life.

Sleep to dream.  Wake up to do.