Alive-est – Day 28

Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. If we follow the truth, it will bring us out safe at last. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Prompt:  When did you feel most alive recently?  Where were you?  What did you smell? What sights and sounds did you experience?  Capture that moment on paper and recall that feeling. Then, when it’s time to create something, read your own words to reclaim a sense of being to motivate you to complete a task at hand.  (Author: Sam Davidson)

Creating New

Where was I?  Here and there. In a cloud straddled between a dream and reality. It was last month.  Before the doors opened, before the crowds arrived, I stood there in the open space.  Alone, I surveyed my drawing turned minimalist art gallery design.  The booth appeared like a dream with its white space of emptiness mingled with colors of cultures and creativity.  To think, I conceived and created it all—the booth and the cards.  Shake me to wake me.  I felt good.

The fresh smell of newness permeated the air.  New industry.  New business. New adventure.  New reality.  It took six months.  I took a long-time vision—more of my dad’s than mine—and made it concrete. It smelled like triumph. I felt uplifted.

I tasted the sweetness of a dream come true.  From concept to creation to cards, this was the taste of success.  I did it.  I delivered.  I succeeded in creating reality out of dreams and doubts, out of fears and fortitude.  Wake me out of this trance.  I felt happy.

The meanderings of my imagination made it to paper and beyond.  On the sixth month, I stood back, I saw, I smelled, and I touched the mesmerizing sensations felt when reverie becomes reality.  I waited for something to happen, for people to arrive, for new possibilities, or simply for a pinch on the shoulder.   During that quiet, solitary moment before the doors opened, straddled between here and there, I was feeling good.  And that good feeling of creating new was enchanting.

Personal Recipe – Day 27

Stone Pile

Image by Tingy via Flickr

I do not wish to expiate, but to live. My life is for itself and not for a spectacle. I much prefer that it should be of a lower strain, so it be genuine and equal, than that it should be glittering and unsteady. I wish it to be sound and sweet, and not to need diet and bleeding. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Prompt: Think about the type of person you’d NEVER want to be 5 years from now. Write out your own personal recipe to prevent this from happening and commit to following it. “Thought is the seed of action.”  (Author: Harley Schreiber)

Rock or Not

I want to avoid being like a rock.  I don’t want to be a large mass of immovable stone. I don’t want to be like a rock and depend on other forces to move me.  Why lie around on the ground waiting for something to happen or things to be put in motion?  Why wait for that gush of wind to roll me down hill?  Why wait for a hand to pick me up and toss me into the unknown?  Or wait for a crane to hoist me to new heights?

No, I will not be a rock or a stone.  I will move.  I will do.  I will be.

My mind will motor my motivation.  My body will move my spirit.  My heart will fuel my passion.  Motion will keep me going.  I will move.

I will do.  If the wind knocks me down the hill, I’ll pick myself up after the tumble.  I won’t be like a rock and stay on the ground.  If no hand tosses me in the air to catch the wind and carry me where I haven’t been, then I will create my own wind to get in the flow of making myself go.  I will do it.

Ultimately, I will be.  When I’m tired and lifeless like a rock, I will still try to come alive.  I won’t let my mind atrophy.  I won’t stand still in immobility.  I always will try to become what I’m supposed to be.

Life is full of contradictions.  I realize there is a rock that suits me.  The one rock I can be is the one that moves to the rhythm of life and rolls to the music of my mind. It’s the one that rocks my spirit with emotion and excitement for the new, the creative and the undiscovered. It’s the rock with that driving beat—move it, do it, be it; move it, do it, be it—that motivates my mind, fills my heart with enthusiasm and forces my soul to follow my dreams.

No, I never want to be a rock of immovable stone.  I want to be the rock that rolls me faithfully toward becoming what I am to be.

                     Rock and roll music, if you like it, if you feel it,                                                    you can’t help but move to it. –  Elvis Presley

Call to Arms – Day 26

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

Prompt: What if today, right now, no jokes at all, you were actually in charge, the boss, the Head Honcho. Write the “call to arms” note you’re sending to everyone (staff, customers, suppliers, Board) charting the path ahead for the next 12 months and the next 5 years. Now take this manifesto, print it out somewhere you can see, preferably in big letters you can read from your chair. You’re just written your own job description. You know what you have to do. Go! (Author: Sasha Dichter)

Map of Movement

Team, we have a journey to travel and destination to reach in the next year. This document, this manfesto, serves as our “Map of Movement.” The route we’re taking may be unfamiliar and the road we’re traveling may temporarily veer us off course. It may take us over hills and through deep valleys. Some days, we may face setbacks from following wrong directions. Other days, we may have leaps forward due to a good sense of navigation. But every day, the key is to keep on moving because we won’t get anywhere sitting still. We expect everyone to reach the destination together. Here is the map of movement.

1. Destination Determination

Once we determine where we’re headed and why, our trip planning begins. Our destination is deliver—deliver a new line of creative products that connect people across cultures. Why? To broaden cross-cultural awareness and understanding.

2. Roadmap It: Research, Mind Mapping, Route

How do we get there from here? Since no roadmaps exist for where we’re going because we’re exploring new territory, we have to determine our route and design our map. Think about how Da Vinci or the Wright Brothers or George Washington Carver did it when it had never been done before.

Start with research. Do the research on how others planned trips to unknown places. Ask questions, gather information and study what is known and unknown about the destination. Study hard, but not too long, no more than a month. We want to keep moving.

Next do mind mapping. Use the information gathered and creative collaboration to develop a mental roadmap. Daydream. Discuss. Daydream some more. Think about it awhile.

Plot the route. Visually map out, by drawing or writing down, the specific route or action items to reach destination Deliver. Pack the particulars: a little confidence, some flexibility, a lot of instincts, minimal fear and much enthusiasm. Select the vehicle: self motivation. Now with a map of movement, things packed, and a vehicle ready, the journey can begin.

3. Depart

Do it. Implement the travel plans. Follow the route. Take detours when necessary. Keep driving forward. Keep moving.

4. Arrive

After twelve months of traveling, we will reach our destination. We will deliver that new, creative line of products. And in subsequent years, we will review, refine and remap our travel route to reach our destination: deliver.

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.

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.

Invent the Future – Day 17

A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Prompt: My favorite quote of all time is Alan Kay: ‘In order to predict the future, you have to invent it.’ I am all about inventing the future. Decide what you want the future to be and make it happen. Because you can. Write about your future now. (Author: Cindy Gallop)

Future Senses

My future means making better use of my five senses. Keep my eyes open to seeing clearly where I’m going in life. Keep my ears alert to hearing that inner voice of wisdom. Taste life, don’t fear it. Touch the hearts of others through everything I do and deliver. Allow the arousing smell of morning dew to reawaken my senses to the new, the curious and the future every day I’m here.

Wholly Strange and New – Day 16

When good is near you, when you have life in yourself, it is not by any known or accustomed way; you shall not discern the foot-prints of any other; you shall not see the face of man; you shall not hear any name;—— the way, the thought, the good, shall be wholly strange and new. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Prompt: Can you remember a moment in your life when you had life in yourself and it was wholly strange and new? Write about that moment. (Author: Bridget Pilloud)

My Edge Moment

That “wholly strange and new” moment occurred when I started my new business. I called it my edge moment. Filled with feelings of pleasure and pain, fear and fun, exhilaration and exasperation, hope and hesitancy and more, I started a business. That moment was like stepping on the edge of a mountain, peering down before jumping, and thinking how wonderful floating would feel and how hard the landing would be. When I started out, I knew I wanted to do more than stand on the edge and look down, I wanted to jump. I wanted to go beyond the edge and build a business that would be different, new and good.

As I launched the business, feelings of bliss and burdens of doubt continued to compete for my attention. The more my inner voice discouraged me, the more my outer courage prevailed. There was no way of knowing all the unknowns. So I jumped. After jumping, something strange happened. I became so mission driven that I let go and let trust in myself thrust my business along. I was moving—three steps forward, two back then five steps forward and only one back. I got into the rhythm of moving further away from the edge. I was building something new. I was feeling good. I was living.

My business is growing now. I have less edge moments. I’ve grown more familiar with the unfamiliar. Maybe it’s time to experience that “wholly strange and new” moment again. Maybe it’s time to carve a new path to continue fully living.