Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The Trifecta of Thrilling Truths

I have some extra time on my hands these days because I am not gallivanting around town so much due to the pandemic.  I am not sure when I will be able to resume my shenanigans of checking out festivals and arts, but I do know that I am figuring out a new way to explore.  Exploring is one of the most important life experiences I enjoy.

In my daily writing, I enjoyed a 'ah ha!' moment of sorts: figuring out what makes a happy day for me.  I came up with three things that when experienced, I can tag as a banner day:
  • Learning
  • Laughter
  • Love
If I have the opportunity to learn at least one thing over the course of the day, I'm good.  Imagine my joy when it is chock full of new knowledge!  Just the other day on my Daytripping with Denny K outing to Woonsocket, I learned a whole mess of things in just one part of the Ocean State (aka Rhode Island).  Imagine my excitement when I think about the other 38 cities and towns in the state to explore!

Who doesn't like a good laugh out loud moment?  Whether it is watching one of my favorite shows on PBS Rhode Island - The Durrells in Corfu - or scrolling through some silly animal posts on Instagam, I just a good guffaw like the next guy.

Lastly, love.  I get to feel it everyday of my life.  It could be a pleasant exchange with someone at the park (from six feet away, of course!) or a text from a friend.  An exchange of well wishes and care fills my heart to an almost bursting level.

What are your three thrilling truths?  

Another lesson learned that helps me when I am in pickle is the following question:  Will I regret doing it or not regret doing it?  That simple question has helped me figure out some important decisions.

So, here is a bit of a homework assignment for you: go out and learn something.  Try looking up Rupi Kaur, find out what a amphisbaena is, and who makes THE BEST chocolate in the world (hint: it doesn't start with an "H").

And, try not to laugh watching this funny cat video! Oh, and why not send a little love text to a special someone, just because.  I'm telling you, your day will be amazing!

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

California Dreaming - April 7, 2020

A couple of years ago, I went to visit my friend, Kristen, in San Francisco. And, as you can see, we had spectacular weather. It was December and beautiful. I can't speak for my host, but it was a delightful time. As I reminisce, an old Nordic expression comes to mind: clouds move. I hope the sun is shining on you today and if it isn't, know that it will come back out again.

One day at a time. A quiet meditation on perspective goes a long way in my book. Welcoming The Full Experience sometimes fills my heart and other times, freaks me out. I remind myself that I am doing my best.

Another gorgeous spring day here in Providence. Not too many meetings today. I do have to venture out for my weekly food shopping. Of course, wearing my full protective gear. I also chatted it up with new friend Kathy, about podcasting and blogging.

I've come to learn that my new television is a good thing and a bad thing. Although sometimes checking out on binge-watching doesn't exactly help me sleep very well, sometimes it's just something I need to do. You know what I mean?


Friday, April 3, 2020

The Dancing Blooms - April 3, 2020

This dance of the blossoms was captured May 2018 in Portland, Oregon. If I'm not mistaken I taped this during a walk near my former employer's location. Those rhody’s are something else, aren't they? 

We are now having more rainy days and warmer weather in Providence, Rhode Island and many things are blooming. I spotted the first signs of cherry blossoms around the corner. Many daffodils have poked through and I'm sure the tulips are close behind. 

The springtime energy is contagious. I don't know about you, but I've been experiencing all kinds of creative energy during the past couple of weeks. I suppose with my brain that loves to problem-solve, this situation has put it into high speed. I've come up with a number of ideas that I will reveal  later but I'm wondering who else is enjoying this creative growth spurt? 

I consider these days quite the adventure. One of my favorite thought leaders is Mark Nepo. I had the pleasure of meeting him a few years back and he has written one of my favorite books called The Book of Awakening. It is filled with short but very deep reflections and I'm always learning something each day that I read it even though I've been reading it for six years. My copy is falling apart because I've been reading it so much but I don't dare replace it with a new one since I have tabbed and highlighted sections that caught my heart. Today's reflection has this quote: The river is now in me. The reflection is about how we are all connected and how we're all in this together glad to be sharing this “adventure” with all of you.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

You are my sunshine

It was such a beautiful day yesterday.  So much so, I took a second walk to the park to feel the sunshine on my face.  The place we hopping with other folks enjoying the fine weather.  Just like any other day at the park.  I didn't see a lot of 'social distancing'.

It appears my darling daughter as bounced back from her grumpy cat mood as I spotted a jolly post on Ig where she is looking downright happy.  This makes me happy.

I went out for a walk today - yes, in the cold rain - and it felt invigorating.  I am trying to stay active and keeping the closest semblance to 'real life before the virus' by doing so.  I also am working on my special projects list including practicing my bluegrass singing:

I don't think I can pull of that yodeling sequence.  That may a bit out of my wheelhouse of capabilities!

Well, I think I might go take a nap.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Learning to Live, Coronavirus style

I hit a bit of a wall last night.

I had a video chat with my daughter, Lila, and left it feeling lonely and sad.  Of course, the two of us will see each other again but the not knowing when is hitting me hard.  Plus, she is struggling.  She is isolated in Vermont with her father and step-mom.  They are still working their jobs, off-site, which means Lila is home all alone.  This hurts my heart.  She is also struggling with the news is that she is not returning to school to finish out the year, but doing online learning to complete school.  She finally got a lead in the play and now it has been cancelled.  She understands that others are struggling with even more painful situations in response to this pandemic but I told her that her sadness should also be honored.  My heart hurts because I can't be there to hold her as she cries.

As an extrovert, I feel energized by external energy - interacting with other people in person and being at events are key in feeding my joy.  Not being able to that is going to be a struggle, so I am putting my ever-present thinking cap on to figure out how I can be in this new (temporary) normal.

At the time of this writing, I have 10 days left on my mandatory quarantine after returning from one of the most amazing trips to Barcelona.  As it is for many people, I am trying to figure out how to be in this world with restraints.  I am a very social person and thrive on being with people or being at events.  This is a tough one for me to forgo. How do we live as 'business as usual' during extremely unusual times?

I started a morning practice a couple of years ago that includes writing, reflecting, meditating, and walking. Having that practice during this time is definitely helpful.  I am also reaching out to people to set up video time so I can stay connected in some way.  I am also writing a "Ideas" list that includes things like this:

1.  Doing yoga once a week.
2.  Start practicing those bluegrass songs to practice with Anne-Marie.
3.  Write and send love letters to Lila, other family, and close friends.

I wake up early (still on Spanish time) and I get dressed for my day. It may even include putting on some red lipstick! I am also limiting my time on social media.  It is overwhelming.  I am producing my podcast, Artclectic New England, and just got off the phone with one of the staffers at Girls Rock Rhode Island. I left the conversation feeling reminded that all will be well. We will come out on the other side of this, no doubt. My hope is that I will be stronger and the world at large will be better in some way.

What I have witnessed is great kindness.  My friend went food shopping for me.  My landlord/neighbors shared a plate of food in celebration of St. Patrick's Day. When walking around the park, everyone waved and smiled to each other.

Share some of the things that you are doing during these days in the show comments.  I'd love to hear your ideas!  Maybe we can form a virtual band together.  :-)

Monday, December 30, 2019

What a Snooze Fest!

Some time ago while listening to the Rise podcast with Rachel Hollis, I learned about her Last 90 days program. Basically, for the last 90 days of the calendar year, you do five things: Wake up an hour earlier than usual. Drink half your body weight in water. Stop eating unhealthy food for 30 days or more. You practice gratitude by writing your gratitude down everyday. You workout or move your body for at least 30 minutes each day. I started my effort well before the 90 day kick off because I'm generally an overachiever in some regards, but I have to tell you, I wasn't able to maintain the practice of “five to thrive” until the end of the year. I also discovered The 5 Second Rule. It's by a gal named Mel Robbins and basically you set an intention and when it's time to live the intention, you count 5 4 3 2 1 and you just do it. So, I started using that approach to make sure I got out of bed when the alarm went off at 6:30 a.m.. Well, I kind of got off that routine as well. Now, I bring this up because even though I fell off the personal improvement wagon, there's always the opportunity to hop back on it. Last night, I went to bed with the intention of getting up at 6:30 a.m. and set my alarm.. When that alarm went off this morning it didn't take me five seconds to get up - I hopped out of bed! And even though it was 35 degrees and raining, after I did my morning practices of writing reflection and meditation, I put on my boots and I went out for a 30-minute walk around the park. It's a time for me to listen to my favorite podcast, to learn a little bit about things I can try, or what other people have done in the world. Its also getting my body ready for the day ahead. As I was listening to Rachel Hollis this morning on episode 125, one thing that resonated with me is her expression of excitement about living her day and what she does to get into that space. So when I got home and ate my granola and yogurt and drank my second glass of water, I kept thinking how excited I am to live this day. I have several things I need to attend to and I'm excited because these things are helping me live my dreams. Last year, I decided to become self-employed and launched CTD Creative Consulting. In 2020, it's time to get down to brass tacks and focus on reaching my goals with my business. I do feel a sense of anxiety every once in a while, but I also spent time retraining the voice in my head telling me I couldn't do it for so many interesting and not so interesting reasons. So, I picked up my list of my five to thrive this morning and I resumed my practices of waking up an hour earlier, drinking half my body weight in water, and figuring out what unhealthy food I'm going to stop eating I'm already halfway through my gratitude list for the day and just had an invigorating walk in the cold rain. Making changes in your life is not easy but I have learned its really quite worth it. Well, the positive changes that is. New Year's Eve is just a couple of days away as I write this reflection, and I will come up with moments and ideas of how I see my intentions for the next year and what I can do to hopefully reach those goals. No, on second thought, doing what I can so I will reach those goals. Ready to join me? Happy New Year!

These boots are made for walking...

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

I'm Having a Baby!

Not really but I have been dreaming of being pregnant, giving birth, or finding babies for the past few weeks.  I know enough to understand that dream symbols are what you make of them, but I was perplexed. Was I wanting another kid? Nope. After the third dream, I decided to look it up and had an 'ah ha!' moment of excited understanding:
"To see a baby in your dream signifies innocence, warmth and new beginnings.  If you dream that the baby is smiling at you, then it suggests that you are experiencing pure joy. You do not ask for much to make you happy. If you find a baby in your dream, then it suggests that you have acknowledged your hidden potential..."
"A dream about giving birth is usually a pretty straight-forward metaphor — you're starting a new life phase, or making a fresh start in some capacity..." 
"You found a baby! Which means that you're making peace with the idea of accepting your own hidden potential and talents..."
"Pregnancy in a dream can usually be connected to something in your waking life that is in the development phase,".... Life changes like setting out to earn a degree, beginning a new career or relationship, or starting a big project can often trigger these dreams — "something that is currently growing and will eventually result in 'a new life' for you."
Well, here's the big reveal:  I am starting a new phase in my life....as a business owner!  For years, I have wanted to be my own boss and be responsible for doing good work based on my values and my vision, but the time never seem to be right.

Earlier in the year, I started job seeking and soon after, I started having dreams of a different kind: that I was going to prison. Now, I do not need to look up what that could mean.  It was as clear as day: I couldn't dream of continuing my work as a fundraiser for a nonprofit.  I'll cover that matter in depth in a future post at some point, but basically, my heart wasn't in it anymore.  I love the skills involved in fundraising and communications. I love the development of strategies to be as functional as you can be with limited resources.  But my role as a development director was just not going to cut it.  I wanted to take my expertise and experiences to another level to help out nonprofits. I also spotted a need for owners of small businesses needing some basic digital presence support.

My dear pal, Shari, and I are accountability partners. She is one of my most brilliantly creative people I know and she has been urging me to strike out on my own for years.  I decided that now is the time for me to be a #GirlBoss and I have launched CTD Creative Consulting LLC.  I provide content creation support and capacity building strategies for small business owners, as well as, nonprofit organizations. I am working with a few clients right now on website content management, marketing strategy, blogging, social media management and board development.

Pinch me.  I love it!

I am also working with a SCORE mentor who has been a great resource of business wisdom and also a fantastic coach. (Thank you, Rochelle!) The service offers the mentor program, training, and access to other resources. I even opened an actual bank account and printed business cards.  This is real, people!

Starting a business is no easy task and I would be lying if I told you I haven't struggled with anxiety, fear of failure, self-doubt...did I mention fear?  I have the emotional support that helps me navigate those dips in my friends and my mentor.  I also have taken up some new habits that have made a world of difference, thanks to the wisdom of Rachel Hollis. She produces a podcast that is chock full of good things and resources that run the gamut of every topic around entrepreneurship.

For example, her Five to Thrive habits are now part of my daily life...fifteen days and counting. She also wrote two books that were awfully helpful in getting my head wrapped around some of my 'stuff'.  I highly recommend both her podcast and books! I have felt an immediate difference in how I feel both physically and emotionally since setting up those intentions.  I have struggled with depression in the past and uncertain times are a typical trigger for me, but I am taking care of myself by using these new habits and being more thoughtful when the inevitable 'scaries' come to mind.

So, this is my announcement to the world that I've got this.  I am super excited and can't wait to keep you posted on the developments of this new professional direction that I am taking. If you have any words of encouragement, please share them in the comments below because I can use their magic as I move forward with this dream.  Thank you!