Love of languages

My four year old is reading (so proud!), well learning to read anyway. As part of that process, he demands, “Read this!” and jabs his little finger at whatever words are in front of him. It is more than fun, teaching this voracious reader new words. These days I am patiently reading everything from the author notes in the back of his favorite books to the warning label on his car seat (ok, maybe not so patiently on the last one).

I am enjoying this time, while I am a tiny bit smarter than him (a different story next year). Though he is now demanding that I read the French and Spanish translations of the signs and labels we encounter in our day. I am finding I am getting quickly out of my depth and cringing at my pronunciation. He loves hearing these new sounds and seems to be seeking out all the words I haven’t been reading to him.

It challenges my brain, thinking in other languages. It makes me want to learn, re-learn, how to make all the sounds not native to my English tongue. And maybe, stay one tiny step ahead of my greatest teacher.

Gratitudinous

Gratitude:
• groovy times
• singing in the car
• being told to stop all the noise by a four year old
• bright eyes and round cheeks
• sunshine peeking through
• possibilities
• hammock time
• cooking adventures
• a new day
• another chance

Lost language – Groovy

Whatever happened to the term “groovy”? Of course it still exists, but where did it go in popular culture? Relegated to Austin Power films and sixties stereotypes it is a word that is drifting out of existence. To use it now… well it would seem contrived.

It is a word specific to a culture and a time that briefly popped in and out of existence. It is a defining word. You say “groovy” and I think “tie-dye, pot, and bell bottoms”. Maybe groovy fell out of favor from over use. Someone’s mom must have started saying it. Or misuse, from “the man” trying to groovify very ungroovy events.

Still, I like “groovy”. It quivers with idealism, and hope. Yes, hope, fun, celebration, it is all those ideas. Concepts that I hope we have not hardened ourselves to completely. I hope that our world has left the window open for groovy to populate our dreams.

The world could use a little groovy right now.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJBhdKrwTOc

Hearth and heart

I had the wonderful opportunity to spend the weekend with an amazing person, my son. My husband was in a course and I had the rare chance to spend one on one time with my awesome little guy.

Hanging out with a four year old is the best lesson on how to have more fun in life. He has always been busy and inquisitive, now he is talkative too. These times together are precious. It feels like we are doing more than just having fun, it feels like we are building the bonds of friendship. Times like these warm the heart.

The Dot and The Outsider

I read two distinctly different books this week that are the opposite ends of one spectrum. “The Outsider” by Albert Camus and “The Dot” by Peter H. Reynolds are, on the surface, completely unconnected, one being a short novel about a condemned man and the other a children’s story about creativity. For me, these two books hold a different gaze on the same subject, being different.

In “The Outsider”, the main character is unapologetically odd, which leads to his fate, being condemned by society. In “The Dot”, the main character is encouraged to create her original art, a dot, by a teacher, which leads to acclaim. On one end, being different is despised, on the other it is praised.

What these two books capture, in altogether contrasting mediums, is the influence of perspective in telling the story of our lives. In “The Dot”, a teacher’s praise of an early art attempt, leads the character to define herself as an artist and continue creating works of art. The teacher could have just as easily said the dot was ‘not art’ and the story would have reached a dismal conclusion. Not a typical move in a children’s book, granted. In “The Outsider”, the character is on trial, two portraits of his personality are presented to the jury. On one hand he could be an amoral, cold-blooded killer, on the other he could be a confused, weird man caught in a bad situation. The story that is believed is the one that seals his fate, but is it true?

A story can uplift, a story can kill. Words are powerful. Words are more than description of a fixed reality. Words and stories sculpt life itself. So, I wonder, what story are you telling about yourself? Is it the one you want to be true? This is the role of affirmations; they are specifically designed to counter unhelpful stories that we may have heard about ourselves. It takes a strong character to withstand a negative culture. Deliberately telling a different story about ourselves, as these two works show, can completely change our lives.

Tell a better story.

Light speed

How fast do thoughts travel? When you are sleeping you can fit several movies into a fifteen minute nap. Is that even their true speed? Maybe it is merely a reflection of the level of relaxation, the pliancy, of an unencumbered brain. Perhaps their true speed is infinite. Winding sideways in a magnificent spiral of good fortune. Our only job as creators, to go limp, send out a mental hook, and hang on for the ride.

Patience please

Slowing down to enjoy the moment. Patience. Such a huge teacher. There much be a special part of the brain that houses patience. How do you access it?

Impatience, though, springs forth from a lackful thought “I don’t have enough time.” Illusion. The reality is you always have 5 minutes.

These 5 minuteses pop up like rabbits when you start looking for them. They appear and wait, faithfully for us to grab them. These five minute segments of life must get lonely, waiting for our attention.

What a thought! That our time is patient with us! Is this moment tugging on your arm, like an adoring child, still asking sweetly for some gentle focus? It is easy to focus when the moment, or the child, is whining or wailing. By then, we are short tempered and flooded with emotion, not really fully present.

Being in the “now” may be a tough concept since it is fleeting and not quantifiable. A five minute segment, however, is something is easy for the mind to hold on to.

How much would shift in your life if you took 5 minutes everyday to breathe, do something joyful, work on your dreams, walk, dance, sing?

I think it would change everything.

Nurturing Creativity

Elizabeth Gilbert. She rocks. I hope she always keeps writing. I hope she always lets the magic fairies that live in her walls sneeze their fairy snot all over her.

Watch. 🙂

 

Showing up

Just Show Up. Many disciplines chant this phrase. I have heard it in yoga, meditation, writing, art, even in marathon training. Persistence, it seems, is the magic ingredient in transformation. Whether the work is transforming your body, your mind, your soul, or your work, the advice is often the same.

Showing up is powerful. There is humility in showing up. Showing up tames the wildness of the ego that says to stay in bed, forget, wimp out. The part that is afraid to change wants us to stay hidden, small. Ultimately, the challenge pulls us out of our hiding spaces. We show up because we crave transformation.

A Buddhist concept that has helped me is “make one decision”. Rather than making a decision everyday whether to write or run or create or sit, make one decision. Make the decision once and move forward. Then it is never a question if you will, the answer is always yes, you already chose, you can skip straight to the activity. This “one decision” process is further reinforced by asking the question “Do you want to achieve your goal?”. If yes, then you show up. If no, then you let your self off the hook, don’t look back, and find a new hobby/work. No need to punish, just make a new choice and be happy.

Showing up takes the pressure off. You don’t have to be brilliant, you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be there. I often set myself up to win. I make the showing up easy. I define showing up as doing the activity for 5 minutes. Five minutes is short enough that it seems doable, easy, not a huge investment. Five minutes is long enough that it breaks through the resistance and inertia. After 5 minutes if I really don’t want to be there, then I go on to something else with a feeling of satisfaction that I kept my promise to myself and a knowing that I will return the next day. Most of the time, 5 minutes quickly turns into 50 minutes, or sometimes 5 hours. The flexibility, that after my 5 minutes I can do something else, quiets my rebellious nature and allows my life and reactive work to flow organically through me.

Just show up.

Adapting our story for life

Can you visualize what you want? Can you name what you want? Attracting anything into our experience requires focus and attention. We always focus our attention, it happens naturally through the course of the day. However, we are often not consciously choosing what we think at any given moment. It is easy to get swept along by the chaos of life and neglect our mental state and the content of our conversations.

What is your story? How do you describe yourself to others? These are conversations we have with many people, many times over. This repetition generates power. Whatever you repeat is, in a very real sense, a mantra, an affirmation, a prayer.

These everyday conversations are important cues to our subconscious mind. Our energy follows the pattern of our words and ultimately that energy changes conditions in our lives to match.

Can you rewrite your history? Yes and No. The events in your life happened, but how you tell them can be changed. Just replacing words with more uplifting synonyms is a good start. “Pain” becomes “sensation”, “busy” becomes “energetic”.

Minor shifts create big changes. Tiny incremental changes in how you share your stories can transform your life. And it all starts with this question: what do you want?

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