Worthwhile Day

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Prompt:  What is one thing you can do that would make today worthwhile? What’s stopping you from getting started right now?   (Author: Jessica Dang)

Free Day

Busyness

As one who believes in turning activities into actions and who is always busy, taking a free day is one thing that would make today worthwhile to me.  Unlike a vacation, a free day is an unplanned act of doing anything I want from the time I wake up.   It’s ignoring a schedule.  It’s breaking out of a routine.  It’s time for focusing on what matters to me instead of the matters of others.   And it would be worthwhile because I would take it without feelings of guilt or fear of wasting my time.

In a fast world, we lead busy lives.  It’s evident whether doing good or up to no good. Those with jobs are busy working, those without are busy looking for work and those dangling in the middle are busy worrying about life.   Everyone is busy and much of that busyness is wasting time, waiting for something worthwhile or wishing for someone to make things better.  There are days when I’m doing a lot, moving constantly and going nowhere.  Is it worthwhile?

For me, one free day is worth more than a hundred busy ones.   A random decision to take a single day to relax—think, read, discover newness, satisfy a lingering, or plot a future—is worthwhile.   Do what I want.  No “to do” or “must do” lists.  No guilty burdens.  When the day ends, close my eyes, go to sleep, wake the next day and have no regrets.   I exhale feeling refreshed.

Yesterday is gone.  Today, the  busy “haints” (ghosts) got a hold of me, as old folks say.   I have too much work to do.  Perhaps tomorrow I’ll take that free day.

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s entire quote:

Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities
no doubt have crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.

Tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely
and with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with
your old nonsense.

This day is all that is
good and fair.
It is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on yesterdays.


Number 1 Passion

Prompt:  Number 1 Passion.  What is your #1 passion in life?  Now, imagine what would happen if you incorporated that passion into your life daily.  Write down your passion and keep it close to you.  Remind yourself of it daily, just like brushing your teeth.  (Author: Eric Handler)    

My Passions 

A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face.  It is one of the few havens remaining where a man’s mind can get both provocation and privacy.  ~Edward P. Morgan

My loves are a precious few.  My passions are many—people, politics, art, music, and more.  Books are number one on my passion list.   E-books, paperbacks or hardcover, I’m passionate about every type.

Hidden inside each book, all my other passions can be found.  Books introduce me to distant people and places, teach me about the arts, and encourage me to write.   They expose me to new ideas and ancient thoughts that feed my social activism.   Books play a role in my daily duties.  I turn to them for answers to arguments.  They are a source of solace when needed.  I rely on books to inspire when doubt discourages.

A daily dose of a good book kindles my passions.   Those passions push me to move a million obstacles out of the way of progress.  And they encourage me to move forward when I want to stand still.

Energy and Flow

The world belongs to the energetic. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Prompt: It’s easy to blame our failure to meet our goals or to live our dream lives on a lack of energy, and we don’t always stop to think about the quality of energy in our lives. Yet we can choose to create and manage our own energy flow.

Think of an instance when you’ve been so involved in an activity that you’ve lost track of time, and then identify the passions and energies you were feeding.  Who was there with you?  What were you doing?  What will you do to make time for moments like that one more often? (Author: Julia E)

Energy and Flow

Surrounded by books, insightful ideas offered by others, and a desire to do, my energy is ignited.   I was writing a creative proposal when flow overpowered me.  My mind’s laziness lifted.  Sleepiness receded.  Fireworks began.  My fingers caught fire moving across the keyboard and a stream of thoughts, ideas and concepts poured out and spilled onto the computer screen.   Silence filled the air.   Time fled.   I was floating on flow.   I was in creative mode.

I completed the proposal.   Energy’s flame flickered out.   Flow seeped away.  Lethargy returned.  My memories of that creative sensation and my work were all that remained.

Energy and flow are illusive.   Where do they come from and where do they go?  They appear suddenly.  Move us to do.  Then disappear as quickly.   There was a time when I waited for energy and flow to show up.   Now, I start with any energy I  have when I need to get things done and keep going until flow catches up.

Fault and Change – Day 32

I must be myself. I cannot break myself any longer for you, or you. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Prompt:  Think of all the things that are not working in your life.  That job you don’t like, that relationship that’s not working, those friends that annoy you.  Now turn them all on you. Imagine that everything that’s not working in your life, is your fault.  How would you approach it?  What would you work on to change your life to the state that you want it to be?   (Author: Carlos Miceli)

The “F” Words

what are words for? by Darwin Bell what are words for?, a photo by Darwin Bell on Flickr.

Words mean more than what is set down on paper.  It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.  –  Maya Angelou

Fault, flaw, failing, foible, or frailty along with a few other four-letter words such as fear, pretty much scare the life out of living, if embraced the wrong way.  Often those “f” words are used as negatives, particularly when describing a personality trait, emphasizing a cynical point or lambasting another or oneself.   Whether delivering or getting the word, the usual results are feelings of guilt, anger or despair.  You feel like life is a bummer.

While I hear the words, I listen to my inner voice.  It changes what I hear.  I hear positive negatives.  When I hear fail, I see possibilities for trying again. My voice tells me to fight on. When I hear flaws, I see opportunities to improve myself. I let fear scare me into doing something–anything–that reinforces my passions, my causes and my purpose.  Finally, I deflect faults by taking responsibility. I understand responsible living is part fear, part falling down and getting up, a bit of self-reliance, a lot of flexibility and a great deal of adapting to change.

Faith, friends, family, feeling fabulous and fortunate, fun and future are a few of the “f” words I favor.  Forget fault.

Image – Day 31

Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Prompt:   Mess up your hair. If you are wearing makeup – smudge it. If you have a pair of pants that dont really fit you – put them on. Put on a top that doesn’t go with those pants. Go to your sock drawer. Pull out two socks that don’t match. Different lengths, materials, colors, elasticity.  Now two shoes. You know the drill.  Need to add more?  Ties?  Hair clips? Stick your gut out? I trust you to go further.  Take a picture.  Get ready to post it online.

Are you feeling dread?  Excitement?  Is this not the image you have of yourself?   Write about the fear or the thrill that this raises in you?   Who do you need to look good for and what story does it tell about you?  Or why don’t you care?   (Author: Matthew Stillman)

My Image

Being me is a full-time job.  Distractions abound.  Images of me are drawn from snapshots of times and places.  Friends define me.  Acquaintances categorize me. Employers pigeonhole me.  Family members tell stories about me.   People create images based on their perceptions and experiences, not mine.

Every photo I take is different.  And every image others have of me differs.  The one that counts is my image of self.  It frees me to sleep at night, work at what I enjoy, contribute to what I believe in and love others as I love myself.  The image I have of myself avoids worrying about what others think of me:  “She’s different; she’s friendly;  she’s not friendly; she’s one of us; she’s quirky.”

My self-image gives me the freedom to live with my fears, hopes, complexities and dreams.  That’s the best image designed especially for me.  That’s the image that tells my story.

10 Year Text – Day 30

Speak what you think now in hard words, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Prompt:  Imagine your future self, ie, you 10 years from now.   If he/she were to send you a tweet or text message, 1) what would it say and 2) how would that transform your life or change something you’re doing, thinking, believing or saying today?   (Author: Tia Singh)

Congratulations by Eduardo!
Congratulations, a photo by Eduardo! on Flickr.

Congrats!

Tweet:  Congrats, U did it!

Response:  Thanx.  I love.  I live.  I thrive.  I do.  I’m touched by an angel.   Still I move.

Touched by An Angel by Maya Angelou

We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.

Overcoming Uncertainty – Day 29

The classical definition of probability works ...

Image via Wikipedia

Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Prompt:  Write down a major life goal you have yet to achieve or even begin to take action on.   For each goal, write down three uncertainties (read: fears) you have relating to each goal.   Break it down further, and write down three reasons for each uncertainty.   When you have three reasons for your fear, you’ll be able to start processing the change because you know where the fear stems from.   Now you’ll be able to make a smaller changes that push you towards your larger goal.   So begins the process of “trusting yourself.”  (Author: Sean Ogle)

Driving Off the Beast

Grab the broom of anger and drive off the beast of fear.
Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston was a prominent literary fi...

Zora Neale Hurston via Wikipedia

It’s easy for me to list all the things I want to do but I’ve left undone.  More and more I’m choosing to live life less in the past and more in the now while heading toward the future.   My to do list reflects my life.   It’s a constant mix of evolving and editing, adding and deleting, endings and beginnings, and changing and staying the same.

Life is a gamble woven with uncertainty.   Things change.  People change their minds. Seasons come and go.  Temperatures go up and down.   Pendulums sway to and fro.  The only certainty is that time moves forward.   The odds of overcoming so much uncertainty is limited, particularly when fear is a mighty aggressor.  But I believe odds can be beaten.  I watch sports.  I’ve seen too many games won when the odds were down and seconds were fleeting.  Odds can be beaten with faith, flexibility, and fervor flavored with a lot of self-trust.

There are days when I want to do a lot and achieve little.  On those days, I buoy myself up with The Shirelles‘ lyrics: “Mama said there’d be days like this, there’d be days like this my Mama said.”  Then I keep moving.  Some days fear is a tough temptress.  On those days, I just “grab the broom of anger and drive off the beast of fear.”

One thing I know for certain, when I finally finish my to do list, I’ll probably also be finished living.

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.