Monthly Archives: March 2012

Get Picked.

If I were my own best friend I would tell myself…

Don’t wait to get picked.

***Seven billion people on the planet. Everyone is different. But not everyone takes a chance. Not everyone steps forward and says “this is my best self – this is what I can offer that no one else can.” A lot of us wait to be chosen. We wait for someone to find us or see us or notice that hidden talent. 

There are 7 billion people out there. Don’t wait to get picked. Pick yourself and make things happen. 

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The local library.

If I were my own best friend I would tell myself to…

Join the library.

***I love my local library. I love that it is full of books and magazines and DVDs and tapes. I love wandering the stacks and finding a book about Colombian cooking, then one on crafting with clay, followed a few aisles down by one about the mechanics of motorcycles. I love the groups of toddlers sitting on the floor in the kids section listening to a kind man read a book aloud. I love the group of older men that sit around a giant table in the back corner and boisterously debate the features and flaws of the latest book they have read about a crusader trying to save the world in 2050 while getting the girl and developing a cure for cancer from a rare plant in the rain forest. I especially love that they get so passionate the librarian has to come back and ask them to “quiet down.” 

I love that a library card is relatively easy to obtain and is basically a passport to learning and adventure. If your local library doesn’t have what you are looking for there’s a pretty good chance they can borrow it from another library nearby, and voila – the book is yours to check out! 

I even love that odd smell books sometimes have when they come from an old library. You know what smell I’m talking about… it’s that odd mix of paper and ink and being a well-loved book that has been read by so many and maybe has not seen a lot of sunlight. 

I am saddened to read (more frequently these days it seems) that library membership is down, usership by actual members seems to be down, and budget cuts are threatening closure of libraries. Whenever I am at the local library it always seems busy, but what do I know?!? I simply want to say, if you are not a member of your local library, please consider joining (it’s free)! If you are member, please consider using it (it’s also free, unless you return things late)!

Happy reading! Happy adventuring! Happy learning!

Failure in Bread.

If I were my own best friend I would remind myself that…

Failure is an opportunity to try again…

and again and…

***I have been trying to make a decent loaf of gluten-free bread for almost 4 years now. My goal is something golden-brown, fluffy on the inside, slightly crusty on the outside, easily sliced, delicious for sandwiches, and edible. 

It has not happened yet. 

Each time I find a new recipe for gluten-free bread, from a new author or chef or baker or blogger and my hopes soar. This will be the one! This will be the loaf of bread that does not have the consistency of pudding. Is not so hard I need a machete to cut it. Does not crumble when I poke it with my finger. Does not taste like grass and something herbal. Can be sliced and will not collapse into crouton-size pieces. And can be made into a sandwich… oh, I dream of sandwiches… 

But, it has not happened yet. 

And that means, there are more opportunities out there. There are more recipes. There are more flours and gluten-like things to experiment with and mixes to create and substitutions to make. There are better techniques to learn. And with each attempt, I get closer to the goal… Failure is simply part of the journey and is an opportunity to try again. 

Do you have anything in your life that taunts you like this?? Is there anything you have repeatedly tried to do and find you just cannot seem to crack the magic code of success? Are you enjoying the journey of learning or have you given up? (From one person-on-a-journey to another – I hope you are still trying!) 

Tangled Breathing…

If I were my own best friend I would implore myself to take the time to….

breathebreathebreathe breathe   breathe     breathe

***Well… sorry for the multiple posts today. I finally had a chance to make a few updates and scan in a few images that have been patiently waiting in the notebook. It turns out I’m a bit rusty in the actual “making a post” department and I was recklessly tabbing through a few screens and “poof” – another post (obviously unfinished) got published! (This update will wipe out the original unfinished, so if you did not get it via email… it’s gone now!) 

Instead of leaving an unfinished post hanging out to dry, I figured I would simply overload your poor inbox today with the completed version. I am very sorry for the goof-up!

In retrospect (a whole 120 seconds of retrospect) it does seem rather relevant that this was the post I launched early… it was going to be about slowing down and taking the time to untangle your life and your priorities and finding the time to breathe. It was going to be about sorting out the “life lines” of your life and focusing on those, so that you have the time to take care of yourself and be at your best. 

This is easier said than done. The last 3 months of my life are a testament to that. But I am finally taking the time today to start straightening things out a bit and finding my way back to center. To a place where it is not just “okay” but actually expected to take the time to tune in to myself and just breathe. 

I wish you a peaceful day and hope you are finding ways to take time for yourself in some small measure. 

Innovators.

If I were my own best friend I would remind myself to be thankful for…

Innovators.

***Outside my home stands a row of cherry trees. Up until a week or so ago they all looked the same – grey-brown-black bark, no leaves, no blooms, no hint of anything different between them. Then one lone tree sprouted tiny little green buds. Days later it exploded into pink and cream blossoms. 

This one tree stands out amongst all the others, a bright eruption of color and scent. The rest remain dark and drab. I look at this one tree in full bloom and I think of the people out there who are moving ahead of the curve. The innovators. 

These people look at the world around them, the row of black trees without buds, and they decide, why not bloom now? They step out of line and do it their own way, snow, sleet, rain and freezing weather be damned! They know they might lose, but then again, they also might win (big). And if you never take the chance and try something new or different, you will never know what could be… 

So, today I would like to say “thank you” to all those people I know (and don’t know) who have decided to bloom “early”, to go against the grain, and to make a difference. In the same way this lone cherry tree brings me joy everyday, so do those of you who are pushing the envelope. Thanks. 

Happiness is Jam…

If I were my own best friend I would remind myself…

Happiness might be a refrigerator with homemade jam in it.

***It really can be that simple. Bad day. Cold weather. Feeling crummy. Just need a bright color. Maybe you are even hungry! Open fridge. Find homemade delicious fruity puts a smile on my face jam. Make toast. Slather in butter and jam. Eat and enjoy. 

Thank you to all the wonderful friends and family members in my life that make homemade jam. I cannot tell you how much joy it brings me to open the refrigerator and know someone took the time to make something that delicious!! Someday I might learn how to make jam myself, but until then… Keep on jamming – it is much appreciated! 

Amnesia.

If I were my own best friend I would remind myself of…

the “amnesia” of time…

***Have you ever done something really hard? Or painful? Or it took a lot of effort and sacrifice? But you did it. You started on one side, worked through whatever it was, and eventually arrived victorious and maybe a little scarred on the other side. 

That is part of what this post is about.

That event or experience you had to fight your way through tends to be pretty raw or painful immediately afterwards. There are “hot spots” where you still remember the acute pain and what you did to survive and thrive. But over time (days, years, decades) those acute spots and the memory of the whole experience seems to fade and reform… Amnesia! 

I look back on some of the really tough life experiences I have had and they don’t seem so bad now. There might be a hint of angst, but mostly the whole thing feels condensed and a bit smoother. Kind of a like a rock in a river – over time it gets whittled away and the edges are smoothed down, until you are left with a really interesting amalgamation (I love that word by the way) of the key points. (A little off point…but have you ever picked up a river rock and really looked at all the different colors and patterns?? They’re beautiful!) 

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about this lately – I think this type of “amnesia” allows a couple of things to happen. First, it might explain why people make the same mistakes over and over again – they really do forget how painful it was the last time. Second, and on a more positive note, I think it allows for growth. If you always remember how hard something was (how really truly grueling and awful it felt at the time) you are probably not going to do anything like that ever again… but time smooths that out! And after a while you forget. And you’re willing to go back out and climb that mountain or complete that Ironman or return to graduate school or endure another pregnancy… because the pain has faded.  And what’s left are the smoother, softer, kinder, gentler memories that really do make the trouble you went through worthwhile. 

So with that being said, I simply need to remind myself that whatever I may be struggling through today, it will eventually fade. Even if I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel right now it is still there. And when I get to the other side it will be worth it. And eventually I will have another beautiful “rock” to look back on and remember fondly.