It’s almost 10:00 PM and I’m just now able to turn my attention toward writing a blog post. This has been a long day in my real estate business, one in a busy week of helping clients. I have no complaints, as it just is what it is. As I turned over ideas this evening, the one that rose to the surface involves story and my new symbol for next year, the queen chess piece. How’s that for a collision of two worlds? I’m calling this brief story The Queen of Real Estate.
The Queen of Real Estate
Sometimes, as a realtor, I need to handle a challenge. Such a situation arose yesterday. For many people, it would have been a breeze. Have the talk. Be firm. Accept no excuses. Walk away.
Sounds simple enough…however, the combination of my former dread of confrontation and possessing a heart that feels compassion toward the struggles of others creates hesitancy on my part where some would bold.
I’m learning to speak up while allowing my compassion to govern my words. However, such conversations are still not easy for me. I fretted in the car as I drove to the appointment, choosing careful words in my head and almost hoping the other person would not be there.
Adjust Your Crown
As I arrived at my destination a sudden thought came to me.
Adjust your crown. You’ve got this.
The image of a queen followed the words…a queen of real estate. I wondered, How would a queen handle this situation…a kind and good queen, but a woman of authority nonetheless?
And that question changed everything. I felt calm. I felt empowered. My back straightened and my shoulders came back, opening up my heart chakra and my throat chakra. I mentally adjusted the invisible crown on my head. And I handled the situation with the grace, authority and compassion that was needed. The outcome was good.
In all my years of entering into a new year with a word for the theme and a symbol to guide me, I’ve never quite been impacted in this way by my visual image. This is fresh and deep and I like what’s happening.
I’ve already thought of queen chess piece art to create and fun ways I can incorporate this image. However, yesterday’s experience goes beyond that. This symbol is already reshaping me and making me think differently. I’m enchanted by what’s going on, for going beyond is what my life is all about.
I am becoming something new. The Queen of real estate? Oh yes, I can own that title. And beyond that, I am becoming the Queen of my life. The keys to that kingdom are mine.
Scrolling through Instagram early this morning, my creative interest was caught by a fun post. One of the people I follow, paperloveproject, wrote “Today’s writing challenge is to write down your life story using only five sentences.”
Well that’s just the kind of challenge that I love and it connects perfectly with this year’s theme of Story.
5 sentence writing challenge … I accept!
The logical side of my brain immediately divided my life years by five, to assist me with this challenge. And, go brain!, that was actually very helpful.
I divided a page in my journal like this:
0 – 12 years
12 – 24 years
24 – 36 years
36 – 48 years
48 – 60 years
It’s both amazing and a bit alarming to see my life broken down so simply. It naturally divided into childhood, teen and early adulthood, adulthood/family raising, early middle age, and my current time, middle age to not quite senior.
This gave me a great framework to build my life story around. And you know what? It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, to tell my story in five sentences.
However, here we go…
My Life in 5 Sentences
My childhood was a unique blend of magical playfulness, delightful creativity and scary heart pounding mysteries, and I learned to be silent and afraid.
Instead of outgrowing my fears, I only accumulated more as life appeared to be so chaotic and random, and I hid away my shining self and continued to be afraid.
The incredible joys of raising a family allowed me to tuck the frightened parts of myself deep within, out of sight, and although fear gripped me still, curiosity gained an upper hand.
Weary of living in secret, soul numbing fear I heard that still small voice inviting me to pry open the door that had long been closed, face my terrors and banish them.
My life is a unique blend of magical playfulness, delightful creativity and Divine mysteries, and I am learning to speak my truth and live in joy-filled freedom.
To Be Continued
As I worked on this intriguing challenge, I realized I could actually write my life story in 5 words.
My life has been ruled by fears…of the dark, of my intuitive abilities, of being my true shining self, of speaking up, of being seen, of being enough…and it has been full of worries, anxieties and, as Thoreau aptly wrote, quiet desperation.
How grateful I am that after being continually invited to slay those fears and step into the Light and be my exquisite self, I reached a point in my journey where I cried out Yes.
I am grateful as well to paperloveproject for this thought provoking and fun 5 sentence writing challenge. Creating this abbreviated life story had a deep impact on me and energetically opened new channels in my heart.
It is not the end of the story. Oh no. The story continues on and I am excited to be creating it as I go.
I have a great appreciation and fondness for artist Vincent van Gogh. When I’ve seen the question that asks, If you could spend time with a historical person, who would you choose? Vincent tops my list. This misunderstood artistic genius created an amazing body of work in a little more than ten years, with most of his art completed in the last two years of his life.
Vincent’s work includes 2,100 pieces of art, 860 of those oil paintings. His style of painting was bold, colorful, and expressive, and became the foundation of modern art. And yet…in his short lifetime his genius went unrecognized, and he did not receive fame or financial gain while he lived. He was considered, by many, to be a madman. Vincent described himself as one in which “madness and creativity converged”.
I not only love Vincent’s art, I love the way he viewed the world and life. Films such as the incredible animated film, Loving Vincent, and even the Doctor Who episode, Vincent and the Doctor, pierce my heart with their beauty and poignancy. I am drawn to Vincent’s words as well and tonight’s blog post is inspired by this artist.
Vincent believed in creating and living his dream. If any artist had to learn to overcome self doubt, it was this man. Although his brother Theo supported him and encouraged him, no one else believed in Vincent or appreciated his unique views of reality that he transformed into art. Vincent struggled with depression and poor health, however, he knew what he wanted to accomplish, artistically, and lack of recognition and support didn’t stop him from creating. I’ve thought about his words from the quote above and the deep truth contained within them. We must believe in our abilities to do the things we dream about doing, and silence the voices of doubt, from without and especially from within.
Vincent…this is for you.
If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint’, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.
If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot sing’, then by all means sing and that voice will be silenced.
If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot write’ then by all means write and that voice will be silenced.
If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot act’ then by all means act and that voice will be silenced.
If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot cook’ then by all means cook and that voice will be silenced.
If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot create’ then by all means create and that voice will be silence.
If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot dance’ then by all means dance and that voice will be silenced.
If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot travel’ then by all means travel and that voice will be silenced.
If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot do THAT’ then by all means do THAT and that voice will be silenced.
It is up to me, and up to you, to silence the voice that says ‘you cannot’. Others may cheer me on, and I am grateful for them, but ultimately I am the one who silences doubt by taking action, by doing the very thing that fear soaked doubt hisses is impossible or not for me.
Vincent had excellent words also about the process of moving from doubt to living in dreams that are coming true. He said, “Great things are done by a series of small things that are brought together.” Nowadays we call that baby steps…doing what we can…action steps. So far ahead of his time, was he, and so able to see in a bigger, magical way.
I’d love to give Vincent a hug and then sit quietly out of the way and watch him create. Instead, I’ll say “thank you, Vincent”, and slay doubt with my actions.
After a day spent on the phone or staring at a screen, I knew by tea time that I needed a creative activity this evening. I felt that drawing and/or coloring was just what my mind, body and soul needed to unwind, and recharge.
And, I knew what image I wanted to capture.
Every time I walked into my studio today, I paused to look at my white board and read the words I’ve written there.
Queen of my own Kingdom…or pawn in someone else’s?
I spent some time this afternoon working on the foundation of the Kingdom I am building, and the desire I felt, every time I stood before the board, confirms to me that this is my destiny. I am willing to do the work. I am willing to learn and grow, to see my dreams become reality.
It is good to have reminders of who I am and where I am heading. I am so excited about next year’s word and symbol, that I chose to create an art piece that captures this part of my journey, this space I inhabit between the dreaming and the coming true.
I sketched out the pawn chess piece standing before an enchanted mirror that holds within it the reflection of the queen chess piece. In the game of chess, if a pawn traverses the board and reaches the other side, it can be promoted to any of the other pieces of the same color, except the king. The queen, with her ability to move in all directions, is a powerful choice.
I like the symbolism in that, considering my journey. As I move across the chess board of life, I am becoming queen, transitioning symbolically, to this next role.
I used Prismacolor pencils to color in my sketch and popped the completed art piece into a frame I had on hand. This work of art tells a story, my story. And it reminds me, like the words on my board, that the choice is mine. The invitation is to become. Doing the inner and outer work necessary is my way of accepting, of saying yes.
This framed art is resting on my bedside table, and it will remain there as this year ticks by. There are still stories to tell…and work to be done…before 2019 arrives. I’m not trying to rush through this year, but oh how my heart is expanding with the joy that I feel as I contemplate what is to come.
To create a life you love, the first step is imaging what’s possible.
The last thing I will look at before turning off my lamp, and the first thing I will look at when I awake each morning, is this visual reminder of the next part of my journey. I am imaging what is possible.
One of the best allies to have, in the world, is someone who mirrors back to us our best qualities. For me it is encouraging when another person mirrors creativity, expansiveness and playfulness to me, as these are qualities I express when I am living fully as myself.
In her excellent workbook, It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again, Julia Cameron calls these dear people believing mirrors because they help us see the best in ourselves, help us believe in ourselves, and help us to silence fears, doubts, perfectionism, and countless other negative beliefs that can seriously limit or block our authentic self from shining.
I have wonderful believing mirrors in my life, friends and family members who support and encourage my journey. I’m grateful for each one. It is my desire to be a believing mirror for others and cheer them on as well by reflecting back to them their true natures.
What about when we are alone, however, and look in the mirror? What story do we tell ourselves then?
Thinking about believing mirrors brought to mind the magical one featured in the well known fairy tale, Snow White. I felt the stirrings of something deeper when I recalled that the Queen in the story stood daily before that enchanted mirror and recited:
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?
The Queen was focused on physical appearances, not living from a whole and creative heart. Fear of not being enough drove the Queen to question the mirror everyday and although it was not a believing mirror, it was honest.
My Queen you are the fairest in the land.
But the day came when the mirror informed the Queen that another, Snow White, was “a thousands times more beautiful” than she was. I’ve always speculated that perhaps that mirror could, after all, see beyond outer beauty, to make such a dramatic declaration. We know how that story ends. Inner beauty won over surface beauty.
We get the moral of the story in Snow White…and yet, what do we see when we look in the mirror? And more importantly, what do we think and believe?
I’ve been turning that question over in my mind all day, and in response, created my own words to recite into the mirror.
Mirror mirror on the wall, when I look at you, you can’t show all.
You can’t hear my laugh, or see my heart, watch me journey or create great art.
You reflect my face but that is all you see. The only one who can reveal the deeper truth…is me.
Those words shift my perspective and remind me of what is true, and what true beauty is. May I be a believing mirror for the people in my life. And may you find within yourself your own truth about who you are, really, and recite it when it’s just you alone with that mirror on the wall.
I spent time yesterday with three of my grandchildren. We ended up at one of their favorite hangouts, Soar Trampoline Park in Webb City. With special pricing on Wednesdays and the start of school next week signaling the end of summer break, the place was packed with jumpers.
My granddaughter tried, without success, to get me to join in on the fun. After healing from 20 years of chronic sciatica, my legs feel great! And…I am cautious about doing anything that would injure them or cause pain. I chose to engage in one of my favorite activities while the kids jumped…people watching.
As I observed kids and youth and adults bouncing on the trampolines, I realized I was seeing living examples of character qualities that people display as they journey through life. Once that idea entered my head, people watching became an intriguing game.
The Fearful One – It was easy to spot the jumpers who were visiting a trampoline park for the first time. Their bodies were stiff and tense. One small boy kept his legs straight and his arms at his sides, as he barely bounced on the trampoline, his wide eyes fastened on his mom for reassurance. He was afraid to relax and really enter into the flow of what was happening around him.
The Wish-I-Was-Invisible One – This self conscious jumper hung out on the fringes, watching others having fun, wanting to join in, but reluctant in case others noticed him and perhaps ridiculed him. It was safer to remain in the corner and hope no one looked his way.
The I’m-Learning One – This girl was obviously not a seasoned jumper, but she was so willing to learn. She tried. She failed to complete a somersault or do a handstand. She tried again. Her focused concentration was evident and I was concerned she would bite the lip she was chewing on as she practiced what she was learning.
The I’ve-Got-This One – These were the jumpers with experience on the trampolines. They flipped, forward and backwards, cartwheeled down the long line of trampolines and leapt impossibly high into the air and then somersaulted back down. My grandkids fall into this category. They are relaxed, unafraid to try something new and so at ease that they don’t notice whether anyone is watching them or not.
The Risk Taking One – Every crowd has one, the person who pushes the envelope, breaks the rules, and lives on the rush of adrenaline. My grandsons cross over occasionally into this category. Yesterday I watched a tall young man reveling in the role of risk taker. He played just beyond the rules. He bounced, literally, off of the walls and the platforms and the poles. The wide grin on his sweaty face revealed how much he enjoyed his revved up jumping and wiping out in a spectacular fall didn’t slow him down one bit.
The Poor-Me One – This small boy was at a disadvantage in the crowded indoor park, and he knew it. He cried if someone bounced on his trampoline. He wanted to have fun but just couldn’t let go of his insistence that people had to recognize his unhappiness. He displayed anger and frustration and ultimately refused to play with others, placing himself on the bench.
The Competitive One – This was the young lady who wanted to be noticed…and applauded and considered the best. Everything was a competition and when her friends grew tired of playing “who’s the best at…” and went off to have their own fun, this girl attempted to make new friends who would compete against her. Winning was everything.
The Mean One – This kid wasn’t playful, he was deliberately unkind. He was small but compensated by stirring up trouble, challenging other kids, fouling up other jumpers and calling kids names. This behavior wasn’t allowed, once staff became aware of his antics, and a parent was pulled aside and talked to. The child was removed, by his weary looking parent, for a time out…and he wasn’t happy about it.
The Joyful One – When I wasn’t watching my own grandchildren jump and play, I looked for this little girl. She was about six years old, with a long braid down her back. She wasn’t an experienced jumper. I only ever saw her leap up into the air and back down again. But oh how joyful she was. When she jumped she flung her arms and legs out with glee, in all directions. Over and over again she bounded upward, laughing, throwing her head back with total surrender to the moment. She was not self conscious. There were no comparisons or competitions or fears. There was just joy and I smiled every time I caught sight of her.
I’ve journeyed long enough to have inhabited most of the qualities I saw on display yesterday. I am grateful that we are never stuck in any place, longer than we want to be. We grow as we go, and slip in and out of various roles until at last our hearts resonate with the rightness of who we are, who we have become. Even then, circumstances or hurts can cause us to wear a different persona for a while, primarily as a form of protection. But once we know who we are, it is much easier to return to that state of being.
Had I agreed to play on the trampolines, my fear of getting hurt most likely would have tilted me into wishing I was invisible so no one would notice me while I tested out my legs. I hope I would have quickly transitioned into one who surrendered to the fun and the experience and the moment.
I am determined now to try. I want to jump…jump for joy.