Alternative Paths – Day 14

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 my name; the way, the thought, the good, shall be wholly strange and new. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Prompt:  What alternative opportunities, interpretations and paths am I not seeing? (Author: Jonathan Fields)

Flexibility and Flow

Before starting a new journey, whether it’s a mental, physical or visual one, I do a few things.  I figure out my potential destination or goal.  To have an idea of where I’m headed helps me get there.  I plot my travel path or strategy for reaching my destination.  Then I relax and rely on flexibility and flow as well as instincts and vibes to guide me through the detours and distractions along the way.

Unknowns abound.  Set backs occur.  Mountains appear.  Bridges must be crossed. Sometimes on the journey I veer left.  Other times, I pave new paths.  I keep moving.  When my eyes open wide, I see the detours as discoveries.  The distractions disappear. Flexibility allows me to bend in the direction I’m to go.  Flow allows me to accept my alternative destination.

Surprise – Day 13

I will not hide my tastes or aversions. I will so trust that what is deep is holy, if we follow the truth, it will bring us out safe at last. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Prompt:  Think of a time when you didn’t think you were capable of doing something, but then surprised yourself.  How will you surprise yourself this week? (Author: Ashley Ambirge)

Doing Wow!

Come from behind, surprise a child by saying “boo” and the reaction is either to giggle for joy or cry out of fear.   The surprise “boo” breaks routine and brings some expected wow into a child’s life.  That’s a good thing.  It’s called living.  I try doing wow weekly.  My wow is simply exploring, discovering or trying something outside of my other routines.

Routine defines our work.  If you write every day for a living, you’re a writer. An artist’s routine is to paint, draw or sculpt.  Campaigning is a politician’s routine.  If telling jokes is your routine, you’re a comedian.  Routine also limits living.  Habitual thoughts of defeat builds fears and insecurities. Constantly being late misses early opportunities.  A series of sameness avoids discovering something new.  A routine of inaction means no progress.

Surprises balance our lives.  Too much routine and too few surprises lack wow, and without wow we never fully come alive.  As a child, I waited for others to surprise me.  As an adult, I work on surprising myself by doing wow regularly.  This week doing wow will mean doing something as hard as writing and posting this blog daily while traveling and doing something as easy as congratulating myself and thinking, “Wow, I did it!”

Fear – Day 12

These are the voices which we hear in solitude, but they grow faint and inaudible as we enter into the world. Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of it’s members. – Ralph Waldo Emerson


Is fear holding you back from living your fullest life and being truly self expressed? Can you be happy being anything less than who you really are? (Author: Lachlan Cotter)

Fearless Faith

Change is constant: seasons come and go, life ends, fear is temporary, and time is fleeting, so I flow on fearless faith. To hold on to anything too long and too tight is worthless and lifeless. When I’m asleep I have dreams and when I’m awake I try to reach my dreams. To try means one day I might stumble, tumble and fail, and the next day as long as my legs don’t fail me, I get up and return to reaching my dreams. That’s who I am.

I understand how temporary so much in life is including the breaths I take on earth. Therefore, I listen more to my inner voice of fearless faith and less to that voice of fear.

Your Personal Message – Day 10

The first Earthrise photographed by humans

One World, One Tribe

To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, that is genius.  – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Prompt:  What is burning deep inside of you? If you could spread your personal message RIGHT NOW to 1 million people, what would you say? (Author: Eric Handler)

Know Others

My burning message:  know others.  Through knowing others, it becomes easier to see our commonalities and understand our differences.  To know leads to understanding and understanding opens the opportunity for friendships and love to flourish.

To know starts with exposure.  It means traveling and seeing beyond the comfort of one’s cocoon, community or eyesight.  It’s seeing the faces of others, hearing their stories, knowing their histories, and accepting their differences.

As we know others more we move closer to knowing ourselves and realizing we’re all part of one tribe made up of many, many people trying to do the same thing—trying to come alive and live.

Afraid to Do – Day 9

The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Prompt: What is ‘too scary’ to write about? Try doing it now. (Author: Mary Jaksch)

Writing About Self

I write about people, places and politics.  I write about my views and visions on social issues, movies, culture, faith and communications.  I write letters, poetry, stories, speeches and essays.   I write, but I can’t write about myself.   Why?  Mine is a fear of exuding too much hubris and too little humility.   While I believe my writings don’t have to be about me, I have been taught that the most authentic writing is about what one knows best.  Clearly, I know myself pretty well.  But I often wonder whether others—strangers—are really interested in knowing me?  So my comfort zone and my self-confidence allows me to focus more on others and less on myself in both my writings and my life.

Biographies and autobiographies are abundant.  And Twitter and Facebook make it easy to define, describe and delineate every aspect of one’s self in writing.  Living means most have seen much, heard more and traveled enough journeys to tell stories, share histories or offer personal insights about themselves using the written word.  I find that hard to do. Yet, I’m tackling my fear in writing this post and participating in this 30-day effort because the daily challenges center around writing about self.

Dare to Be Bold – Day 7

Our arts, our occupations, our marriages, our religion, we have not chosen, but society has chosen for us. We are parlour soldiers. We shun the rugged battle of fate, where strength is born. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Prompt:  What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to accomplish but have been afraid to pursue? Write it down. Also write down the obstacles in your way of reaching your goal. Finally, write down a tangible plan to overcome each obstacle.  The only thing left is to, you know, actually go make it happen.  What are you waiting for?  by Matt Cheuvront

Doubt or Do It

My major obstacle is my “doubt or do it gap.”  I’ve always wanted to merge my artistic talents with my strategic communications skills, but the doubt or do it gap has made that difficult.   Creative ideas, innovative thoughts and great plans too often settle in my mind or on a post-it waiting for me to release them.  Yet, many of my ideas, thoughts and plans begin and end where they started–in my mind.  When creating a concept mixing untested art with my proven communications abilities, doubt manages to overpower do it.   My art languishes on a canvas, computer or sketch pad while I search for the perfect concept for the perfect time.

Home Dreams

This year that approach changed.  I was ready to release my concept whether the world was ready to receive it. I erased my doubt.  I developed an idea for combining art and meaningful messages.  I designed some cards, put up a website and entered a huge product show to move my art beyond my mind, office and immediate circle of friends and family.  The responses proved that many were ready to accept a new concept while others didn’t “dare to be bold” enough to embrace the new.

My plan is to continue designing, releasing and spreading the products for six months before deciding what’s next.   My ideas crawled out of my mind, doubt stepped out of the way and I dared to move forward.   I’m not done doing.

Come Alive – Day 6

Life wastes itself while we are preparing to live — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Challenge: If you had one week left to live, would you still be doing what you’re doing now? In what areas of your life are you preparing to live? Author: Jonathan Mead

Living Now

"Forward" by Flo

To come alive I live now.  I get into the natural rhythm of life’s heartbeat.  I focus on the present.  I learn from the past, but don’t linger there.  I move toward the future, but don’t worry about it.  I do what I can.  I try doing without being afraid of failing.  At the end of the day, I’m done.  When the sun rises, I’m ready to do something once more.   My goal is to do more now and less later.

Travel – Day 5

If we live truly, we shall see truly. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Prompt:  Not everyone wants to travel the world, but most people can identify at least one place in the world they’d like to visit before they die. Where is that place for you, and what will you do to make sure you get there?  (Author: Chris Guillebeau)

Destination Morocco

Morocco is the place I want to visit one day.  Its historical roots, its ethnically diverse culture and civilization, its biodiversity, and its mesmerizing mixed colors merged with its mystery appeal to all my senses.  Writing this down and sharing my travel desires with others—with the world—is my first step toward being there.   But it’s easy to languish in the dream of going.  To make sure I get there, I’ll psych myself into acting on this dream.   I’ll let everyone know I’m going.   Then when the obvious question, when are you going, comes up I want to have an answer.   I must select a date.  This reverses my usual travel planning exercise of digging deep and studying hard about where to go and what to see; instead it forces me to focus my deep dive on when I’m going and how to get there from here.


Morocco by robynejay via Flickr

Writing about my dream has moved me much closer to acting on it.   I’ll make the commitment to those reading this:  I’m traveling to Morocco within the next two years, “Lord willing and the creek don’t rise” as old folks say.

As I begin exploring travel dates and mapping out specific sites and cities to visit,  I’ll continue my self encouragement.  Yet,  I’ll be buoyed by the  encouragement of others who now know my travel wish.   I feel I’m much closer to being there.  Thanks for the push.

Post-It – Day 4

That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him. Where is the master who could have taught Shakespeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon, or Newton? . . . Shakespeare will never be made by the study of Shakespeare. Do that which is assigned you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

A small pad of Post-It notes.


Prompt – Post-It Question

My Question:  How do I use my creative energy to produce positive, creative  change  in my company, in corporations I work with and in my community?

My first thought is change my approach.  That means meet less, think more, exchange crazy ideas with others often and always do something—daily, weekly, monthly—to put things in motion.  Then continue tweaking that something.  The hard part is to just do something—anything—a little more often.

Let me take the next 48 hours to think about this….