Adapting As I Go

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

With Christmas properly celebrated and captured in memory, it’s onward with the 62 outrageous things to do for my 62nd birthday. As the new year approaches, bringing my birthday on January 9th, the number of folded papers in my jar dwindles. With the holiday in the middle of last week, it was a challenge to complete the daily birthday activities. And, as you are about to discover, not all went as I thought it would, requiring shifts. That’s okay. In fact, it’s more than okay. Adapting as I go is one of the ways that I learn and grow and go beyond.

Here are the week seven celebrations.

Adapting As I Go title meme

 Week Seven Celebrations

As a reminder, I wrote 62 activities on slips of paper. I folded those papers up and dropped them into a jar. Every morning I draw out an activity and do what is written on the paper. I love this game, trusting that the activity I randomly select is the perfect one for that particular day. This is a game that I play frequently, for various reasons. My trust and playfulness have both deepened greatly as a result.

Adapting As I Go

Full confession….there were days I accomplished my activities…and days when I simply did not have enough time. So a couple of days, I did two activities at once. However, that did not in any way lessen the magic of playing this game. I marvel, truly, at the way that life unfolds, playfully, amazingly, when I open up and allow. One of the most important lessons that I’m learning during this game is to get out of my own way. Don’t overthink. Stay open and aware. Don’t try to control anything. Have fun.

Reach Out to a Brand for a Sponsorship

My original intention here was to reach out to a brand that I use and love. I considered the companies represented by the products in my home. And yet…as I turn over ideas in my mind, none of them stuck. That’s a sure sign to me that I haven’t hit on the right idea yet.

I finally realized I needed to think bigger, reach farther. Reach was actually my word for the year many years ago. And suddenly that word stood out on my slip of paper. Reach out.

I reached out to Amtrak, the cross country train service, with a sponsored post idea. This company is adapting the way that they market their services. They recognize the benefits of working with those who post frequently on social media. Even though there isn’t a stop in Joplin for Amtrak, I’d happily travel to where there is one and embark from there. How fun and educational a trip on rails would be. I’ll let you know how this activity turns out!

Adapting As I Go Amtrak
Adapting As I Go…with Amtrak

Order Business Cards for the Blogs

This activity seems easy enough. I even had an online graphic design company in mind to order from. However, looking through an endless assortment of biz cards and designs, nothing grabbed my interest.

And then I began to doubt. Does anyone still use actual business cards in this digital age? What would I use business cards for? Did I need business cards?

I played with creating my own designs and saved them while I do a bit of research to see if business cards are necessary or desirable. What’s your opinion? Do you still use actual cards?

Adapting As I Go Business Cards

Give Something Away Today

This activity beautifully coincided with Christmas Day. I’d already come up with a gift that I gave to several family members called a Giving Jar. What a perfect item to give away on this day and how amazingly synchronous.

My giving jars contain a Christmas Stove Top Potpourri with mandarin oranges, cranberries, cinnamon sticks, sprigs of pine and spices. As the ingredients simmer in a pot of water, the whole house smells like Christmas. Check out this post, which details how to make the potpourri.

I went a step further, turning the gift jars into giving jars. The attached card reads: This is a giving jar. After you’ve enjoyed the contents, fill the jar with something else and pass it on to someone else.

Receive and Give

The best part of this story is that once I decided on creating giving jars, events magically transpired to birth that idea into reality. I wanted to use mason jars and cover the lids with fabric. I’d recently uncovered a box in the attic that appeared to contain Ball mason jars. I retrieved the box, which came from the home of Greg’s parents after his father passed.

When I opened the box a few days before Christmas, for the first time since bringing it home, I discovered vintage mason jars as I expected. However on closer inspection I also found red, green and white material folded up. The square patterns were perfect for cutting apart to use as lid covers. I’d only need pinking shears. Do you know what else was tucked into the box? Yes, pinking shears. I can only guess that Greg’s mother created gift jars years ago and this old cardboard box contained the leftover materials.

When things like this happen, I feel so aligned with the flow of life, so connected to the Divine, so delighted in all that is. I expressed joyful gratitude for the discovery…and created the giving jars.

Adapting As I Go Giving Jars

Work in a Different Spot

The convenience of a smart phone and a laptop means I can work from any room in my house. This activity challenged me to find a different place to work.

After the tornado ripped through Joplin in 2011, the city built a new public library on the corner of 20th and Connecticut. I love this beautiful space with its huge windows and comfortable, modern furniture. This became my designated “different spot” to work in.

I found a rocking chair and a small table near huge windows on the east side of the main room in the library. By the time I arrived, darkness curtained the window. However, I enjoyed filling out the month of January in my new planner and writing in my idea notebook. I’ll return to this spot soon when it’s daytime and I can enjoy the views out the windows.

Adapting As I Go in the Library
Adapting As I Go in the Library. I didn’t have a stalker. Greg took this photo as I worked.

Read a Book in a Different Genre

The library served a dual purpose, as I accomplished two activities at once there. Not only did I work, I also checked out a book in a different genre. I read widely, so when I considered possibilities, the first out of the ordinary genre that came to mind was political thriller.

Scrolling through a list of political thrillers on my phone, a title jumped out at me, The President is Missing. The authors intrigued me as well. President Bill Clinton collaborated on this story with James Patterson. I love when people step beyond who they are perceived to be and offer something new. I’m excited to complete the book. And in the same vein, I’m looking forward to visiting Crystal Bridges Art Museum in Arkansas and viewing paintings by another president who has discovered new creative abilities, George W. Bush.

Bill Clinton Book

Say Yes Ten Times During the Day

This activity proved interesting. I’ve always practiced saying yes more often than no, even as a parent and grandparent. However, when you have no idea what opportunities…or obligations…are coming in a day, saying yes can appear risky.

I love how this activity turned out. Briefly, the ten yeses broke down like this. Three yeses secured new clients, one brought an offer to learn more about cooking Indian food, three yeses connected me to blogging adventures, one provided an app to try out for a brand and two involved learning more about travel writing.

By the end of the day, I felt joyful, full of light and open to possibilities. That’s the power of yes.

The Power of Yes

Try a New Fruit

I’m sure there are fruits I have not yet tried. Living in the midwest limits what’s available though. I hoped to experience something exotic, like jackfruit. I knew I wouldn’t find a fresh jackfruit in the produce section of my market but I hoped to find a can of it on the shelves. No.

Back to the produce section I went, where it seems a plant based diet has exposed me to everything there. After all, I eat a lot of fruit. Walking around, thinking and adapting as I go, I spy a  bin of whole pineapples.

Of course, I’ve eaten pineapple. I love the fruit. But….I’ve never eaten a fresh pineapple that I prepared myself. That’s how I adapted for this activity. I cut up a fresh pineapple, using the instructions on the tag attached to the fruit.

Now I’m wondering why whole pineapples intimidated me all these years. It wasn’t difficult to cut up and I’ll enjoy my fresh pineapple this week combined with other fruits in a salad.

Adapting As I Go
Adapting As I Go…fresh pineapple becomes a new fruit.

Ten More Days

My birthday is ten days away. Ten more days until the game ends. This has been a fun and remarkable experience. I’m excited to share some of the lessons learned and ahas realized on January 9th. Thank you for playing along!

Check out the other weeks of activities here: week one, two, three, four, five and six.

Week Seven Birthday Activities
Adapting as I go through week seven activities.

Check out these finds from Amazon and create your own giving jars:

 


 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

Going Beyond Comfort Zones

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

I just completed week five of my birthday celebrations. Amazingly, I’m already more than halfway through my 62 activities for my 62nd birthday. With a game that runs this long, I get into the flow of it and drawing an activity and carrying it out becomes part of my day. So it’s very good to shake me up a bit and keep me moving beyond comfort zones. That’s exactly what this week accomplished.

The comfort zone is a state of being in which things feel familiar and safe. While in our comfort zones, we feel like we are in control and anxiety and fear levels are low. There is nothing wrong with feeling comfortable. However, we can become so accustomed to being in that state that we stop growing, stop challenging ourselves, and life can feel a bit stale.

I like the personal growth that comes from going beyond comfort zones. That momentary discomfort is nothing compared to the exhilaration of new adventures and accomplishments.

Going Beyond Comfort Zones title meme

Week Five Celebrations

As a reminder, I wrote 62 activities on slips of paper. I folded those papers up and dropped them into a jar. Every morning I draw out an activity and do what is written on the paper. I love this game, trusting that the activity I randomly select is the perfect one for that particular day. This is a game that I play frequently, for various reasons. My trust and playfulness have deepened greatly as a result.

Going Beyond Comfort Zones

Here is how I’ve gone beyond this week.

Write a Travel Piece and Submit It

As a blogger I write all the time and my work is read publicly. So why did I almost drop this slip of paper back into the jar? It feels so different to send in my work and have someone else decide if my writing is good enough for their publication.

This activity propelled me beyond my comfort zone. I reworked a blog post I wrote, about how travelling helps me to grow. Delta Sky Magazine and World Nomads both captured my interest. I’ve sent off pitches to both.

The importance isn’t whether either accepts my pitch and asks for the submission. What is important is that I took action and reached out. Action begets more actions and one step at a time I move beyond the edges of where I feel most comfortable.

Going Beyond Comfort Zones Travel Piece
Going beyond comfort zones by submitting a travel piece.

Take a Power Nap

I am not a nap taker. In fact, as a child, I didn’t like to nap OR sleep at night. I still consider myself a night owl who enjoys being awake into the wee hours of the morning.

To complete this activity I had to schedule it into my day, for a nap seems like a waste of time to me and an intrusion. However, there are benefits from sleeping for a short period of time.

A power nap last 10 – 40 minutes. That brief break in the day improves learning and memory, prevents stress, boosts mood and creativity and helps to power up productivity and alertness. Those naps can even slash the risk for heart disease.

Our sleep cycles are divided into four stages.

  • one – light sleep somewhere between fully awake and sound asleep
  • two – real sleep where we are unaware of our surroundings
  • three and four – deep sleep where muscles relax and breathing slows and rapid eye movement (REM) begins

Typically REM begins 90 minutes into the sleep cycle. The perfect power nap stays in stage one and two for up to 40 minutes. If you sleep any longer than that, you’ll feel groggy unless you continue to sleep for 90 minutes and complete the cycle.

I waited until 3:00 to do my activity, when sunlight streamed in through southern windows. My cat Rilynn curled up in my lap and encouraged me by promptly falling asleep. Aren’t cats incredible nappers? I didn’t know if I could even doze off.

Covered by a soft blanket, snuggled with a cat, bathed in warm sunlight I did manage to fall asleep…for exactly 10 minutes.

And I did feel rejuvenated. I didn’t try power napping again, but perhaps I should work on scheduling one in daily.

Going Beyond Comfort Zones Power Nap
Rilynn enjoyed the sunshine and the nap.

Listen to a Podcast I’ve Never Listened to Before

I’ve only recently begun to listen to podcasts and I’m not sure why. Podcasts are audio, and sometimes visual, episodes online that range from a few minutes long to a couple of hours. They cover a wide range of topics. Although I almost always play music while in the car, I rarely listen to a podcast. I’m in the process of changing that.

For this activity I selected a podcast from a series called The School of Greatness, by Lewis Howes. I receive emails from Lewis and finally listened to one of his podcasts. Titled Compassion Over Pity with Humble Poet, the recording is excellent. Check out Lewis’ podcasts HERE.

Lewis is a NYT author, lifestyle entrepreneur and former pro athlete. He shares inspiring stories from brilliant business minds, world class athletes and influential celebrities to help listeners discover what creates greatness.

Going Beyond Comfort Zones Podcasts

Create My Own 30 Day Flip Calendar of Inspiring Quotes

I’ve enjoyed this activity. Using index cards on a spiral ring, I used the blank side to write out quotes. My desire is to inspire, encourage and challenge myself…daily. This little DIY flip calendar helps to accomplish that.

So far I’ve written a dozen quotes. I’m taking my time because I want the quotes to find me or draw me. There are many that I’ve used over the years that I could quickly jot down but that’s not what I’m going for. I want to be challenged to think big, expand my awareness and go beyond.

When I have 30 quotes written out I’ll go back through the cards and number them and perhaps add artistic illustrations.

Going Beyond Comfort Zones Flip Calendar
Going Beyond

Send a Message of Appreciation to an Actor/Actress

I have great appreciation for actors and actresses who do what they love doing. They enjoy their craft and they excel at stepping out of themselves and into another role. I’m sure my appreciation for performers and films are strongly connected.

Truthfully, though, I felt embarrassed that I wrote out this activity. What was I thinking? Who to contact? And how to get a message to someone?

Back to podcasts. One that I am enjoying is called The Well Podcast. It offers stories and interviews that feature creative inspiration. And it is hosted by Branan Edgens, a film editor and cinematographer, and Anson Mount, an actor who recently portrayed Captain Christopher Pike on Star Trek Discovery. I love what Anson brings to a well known although little portrayed character.

Branan and Anson interview fun guests on their casual podcasts and seem to enjoy the banter. Listen in as guest Doug Jones, a regular on Star Trek Discovery, shares amusing stories from his career.

I selected Branan and Anson to write a note to, expressing appreciation for all that they offer to the world. It doesn’t matter whether they respond to that note or not. I accomplished the intended purpose of the activity…going beyond comfort zones to reach out to someone “famous”, with no expectations in return.

Going Beyond Comfort Zones Celebs

Create a New Recipe

Since switching to a plant based lifestyle, I spend more time in the kitchen preparing healthy meals. I’ve become much more at ease and creative in the cooking process, although I still refer to recipes most of the time.

In spite of writing this activity, I felt stumped when I drew it out of the jar. I had a packed out day ahead. What should I even attempt to create?

I love when I put a question out there…and then go on about my business. Because, invariably, the answer shows up while I’m busy doing something else. Such was the case with creating a new recipe. Out of nowhere, it seemed, the words aloo matar soup popped into my head.

I love this Indian dish made with onions, potatoes, tomatoes, peas and spices such as curry, ginger and garam masala. How well would this dish transform into a soup? I had my idea for a new recipe.

I have to say, the aloo matar soup turned out wonderfully well. Resisting the urge to just peek at a recipe, I instead added ingredients with confidence. The resulting soup has all the flavor of aloo matar with a rich broth. I’ll be making this spicy soup again.

Going Beyond Comfort Zones Create a Recipe
Going beyond comfort zones by creating a new recipe.

Have an Indoor Camp Out and Sleep in a Blanket Tent

I envisioned drawing this activity on a Friday or Saturday evening, when I had the weekend to recover! Talk about going beyond comfort zones…with the emphasis on comfort. I haven’t slept on the floor in a blanket tent since childhood.

All evening, as I continued to work on writing projects, I debated on whether to draw out another activity and save this one for Saturday night. That’s not the way this game works though. So at 10:00 pm, I snapped my laptop closed and built a blanket tent…technically a sheet tent…in my creative studio.

I lay cushions from the living room sofa on the floor, covered them with a quilt and then added a sleeping bag. A queen sized sheet draped over two chairs formed my tent. I lit candles throughout the room…well away from the tent…prepared a cup of chai hot chocolate and settled into camp out mode.

How lovely the experience became with flickering candlelight, soft music playing on my iPod, and a cup of dairy free, sugar free hot chocolate. It was, indeed, the perfect night for this activity. After finishing the hot chocolate, I crawled into my sleeping bag and listened to yet another podcast on Lewis Howes’ site, this one called The Five Second Rule by Mel Robbins.

I slept well, snug in my sleeping bag, and woke up refreshed. And surprisingly, I crawled out of the tent and stood up without groaning!

Going Comfort Zones Camp Out
Did you ever make a blanket tent as a kid?

Going Beyond…and Onward

These weeks of activities are bringing rewards beyond playfulness. I am growing. I’m learning things about myself. And I’m excited to see what’s next.

You can check out the weeks of activities below.

62 Outrageous Things to  Do for My 62nd Birthday

Week One, Week Two, Week Three, Week Four

Birthday Activities

Pick up a sleeping bag and create your own indoor camp out!

 

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

This post shared in the following link parties:

Senior Salon #50

Good Random Fun #50

 

 

Week Three Celebrations

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Week three celebrations are done and week four is underway. The celebrations for week two felt challenging and definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone. This week, with a major holiday imminent, the activities were perfect…fun, playful and quickly carried out.

Check out this post, for an overview of how I am celebrating as I approach my 62nd birthday in January . And then scroll down to see which activities I drew out of the jar this week.

Week Three Celebrations title meme

Week Three Celebrations

As a reminder, I wrote 62 activities on slips of paper. I folded those papers up and dropped them into a jar. Every morning I draw out an activity and do what is written on the paper. I love this game, trusting that the activity I randomly select is the perfect one for that particular day. This is a game that I play frequently, for various reasons. My trust and playfulness have both deepened greatly as a result.

Here we go…week three.

Drive to Scotland…Missouri

I’ve lived in Joplin for almost 39 years. Many times I’ve driven by a sign on East 7th Street with the word SCOTLAND printed on it. I have Scottish ancestry and I dearly love that country. And yet, I’ve never driven down that side road to see where it goes.

Scotland, Missouri is an unincorporated community located near Joplin. The post office opened in 1873 and operated until 1903. I didn’t know if anything existed still, in this tiny community. Drawing that slip of paper meant a short trip to discover what, if anything, remained in Scotland, Missouri.

The sun neared the western horizon as Greg and I drove east out of Joplin. I literally had minutes to get to the community before darkness fell. To my delight, a small cluster of houses occupies that space. The post office is long gone, however there are several streets laid out in a simple grid pattern. Woods encroach on one side of town and pastures surround the rest of the community. There is one business at the far edge of the little town, a trucking company.

I can officially say that I have driven to Scotland! I didn’t see coos or sheep, but three horses dwell peacefully in one of the pastures.

Week Three Celebrations Scotland
Week Three Celebrations – Driving to Scotland, Missouri

Listen to Music from a Different Country

This was one of two music related activities that I drew for week two celebrations. The country of Brazil immediately came to mind. I love Google. Typing in Brazilian music brought up a list of musicians and bands from that country.

On YouTube I listed to Michel Telo. Michel is a Brazilian singer, songwriter and actor. He’s been the lead singer in various bands, including Grupo Tradicao and has a solo career now. Michel’s biggest national and international hit is “Ai Se Eu Te Pego”, which happened to be the first song of his that I listened to.

Find a Role Model Who is Doing What I Want to Do

Meet the Accidental Icon. Lyn Slater is a professor at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Services. She started a style blog in 2014 after not finding one that offered an “urban, modern, intellectual aesthetic”. Her intention was not to become an icon. However, her fresh voice on fashion, politics, society and the world draws followers…and companies…to her.

What I find most encouraging about Lyn is her authenticity…and her age. She is 65 and discovering new adventures and opportunities every day. Just by being herself she encourages me to do the same. Lyn advises women to do the work they need to do, so that they are okay with being who they are, and to focus on the content they create.

Check out the Accidental Icon Blog.

Week Three Celebrations Accidental Icon

Lyn Slater, the Accidental Icon. Photo by Calvin August Lom.

Listen to a New Genre of Music

At first I thought I’d find it difficult to listen to a genre that is new to me. However, I discovered there are more than 50 genres of music! I chose House Music.

This genre of electronic dance music was created in the 1980s by disc jockeys and music producers from Chicago’s underground club culture. DJs altered disco dance tracks to give them more mechanical beats and deeper basslines. They began to mix in synth pop, rap, Latin music and jazz into their tracks as well.

The genre expanded internationally to London and to major US cities such as New York City and Detroit. Over the years numerous subgenres developed. Today House Music remains popular on radio and in clubs.

Leave Encouraging Sticky Notes Around Town

My granddaughter Aubrey helped with this day’s activity. In fact, I supplied the sticky notes and a pen and she busied herself writing all the notes. In a few minutes Aubrey created a pile of encouraging notes with saying such as You Can Change the World and Don’t Give Up and Follow Your Dreams.

We had errands to run and a family dinner that evening. As we visited different locations, Aubrey and I left behind encouraging sticky notes. It was a fun shared activity! I hope we brought joy to the recipients.

Week Three Celebrations Sticky Notes
Week Three Celebrations – Leave Encouraging Sticky Notes

Research a Topic I’ve Never Researched Before

When I selected this activity out of the jar, the first topic that came to mind involved water. In the new Frozen movie, a plot point involves water memory. Does water really retain memory?

I decided to research it.

Water memory is the purported ability of water to retain a memory of substances previously dissolved in it, even after repeated dilutions leave no molecules of the original substance. It’s an intriguing theory initiated 31 years ago by French immunologist Jacques Benveniste. The scientific community does not accept Benveniste’s findings, which have been duplicated occasionally, but not consistently, since his initial claims that water does retain memory.

Water is fascinating. It can occupy three states…liquid, solid and gaseous. Water is essential for all life on Earth. Japanese author Masaru Emoto demonstrated that human consciousness affects water molecules. And Professor Bernd Kroeplin at Aerospace institute in Germany discovered that an image of a flower remained in drops of water, after the flower was immersed in a container of water. He studies the drops of water on slides under a dark field microscope.

I intend to do more research on this interesting topic.

Check out an interview with Kropelin  HERE.

Week Three Celebrations Research
Week Three Celebrations – Research a New Topic

Make a Heart Ornament for Christmas

For many years I’ve purchased a heart shaped ornament every December, to place on my Christmas tree. The ornaments remind me of the importance of my own heart and how necessary it is for me to keep it open and whole.

I was excited to draw this activity yesterday, until I realized that none of the craft stores were open on Thanksgiving Day. My choices for materials were limited to what I had on hand at home. Chatting with my daughters about my dilemma, Elissa suggested I make one out of a vintage handkerchief. What a brilliant idea! I have at least a dozen vintage hankies that belonged to my grandmothers and to Greg’s mom.

Looking through my collection later, I found a very delicate handkerchief that belonged to Leta Moore. To my delight, it even has a Christmas motif, with bells and holly embroidered on it. The thin material and embroidery gave me pause though. I’d have one chance to create a heart ornament from this keepsake. And the thought of cutting into the silky material bothered me.

Greg came to my rescue. He brought me a stack of white handkerchiefs that his father never used. I felt relief. I now had plenty of material to use. I’ll save the Christmas hankie to use in another way.

Making the Ornament

To make the ornament I drew a heart shape on card stock, cut it out and traced it onto the handkerchief, tucking the point of the heart into a corner of the folded hankie. After cutting out the heart, I pinned the edges together, adding a loop of narrow silver and white ribbon to serve as a hanger.

I’m grateful Granny Grace taught me hand sewing as a child. It didn’t take long to sew around the edges, right sides together, leaving a small opening to turn the heart right side out. The rest of the handkerchief became the stuffing for the ornament. I cut the material into narrow strips and stuffed them into the heart, then sewed up the opening.

Finally, I tied strands of white, purple and turquoise ribbon around the loop hanger. It turned out so cute! I love my heart ornament for this year.

Week Three Celebrations Heart Ornament
Week Three Celebrations – Make a Heart Ornament

A Week of Play

I loved the playfulness during week three celebrations. Curiosity led me to new discoveries and my creative side got to play.  My granddaughter joined in and we had fun doing an activity together.

Fall decor is coming down and I’m ready to transform my home into a Christmas wonderland. I’m excited to see which activities show up, as December arrives.

Week Three Celebrations

Week One Celebrations

Growing Through Week Two Celebrations

 

Check out Masaru Emoto’s book on water:

 

 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

Growing Through Week Two Celebrations

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Growing through week two celebrations seems like an apt title for this week’s update. As I approach my 62nd birthday in January, I am celebrating by randomly drawing daily activities out of a jar. Read about the creation of this fun game HERE.

It’s been an interesting week! More than last week, the activities the past seven days challenged me while upping my trust level.

Check out the next seven celebrations.

Growing Through Week Two Celebrations title meme

Growing Through Week Two Celebrations

As a reminder, I have 62 activities written on slips of paper. I folded those papers up and dropped them into a jar. Every morning I draw out an activity and do what is written on the paper. I love this game, trusting that the activity I randomly select is the perfect one for that particular day.

Make a Request So Crazy That I’d Expect a No

More than once this week, I’ve drawn out a slip of paper that’s made me question why I included this challenge! Last Friday, as I began week two celebrations, I drew out this slip of paper that made me take a deep breath.

Okaaay, I said out loud.

As I took a shower and prepared for the day, I opened to possibilities. I not only found my request, I came up with an idea for a future blog post as well. (Hint: have you ever wondered why so many good ideas surface in the shower or during a soak in the tub?)

The process of getting to the request so crazy I’d expect a no led me from idea to idea, with progressing degrees of outrageousness, until I reached the “crazy” level.

And here it is. I reached out to a cruise line, and asked to work together on a Solo Travel Series.  In exchange for a cruise, I offered a sizable package of posts, videos and social media shares. Norwegian Cruise Lines offers solo cabins, a lounge and excursions, which are perfect for those who wish to travel alone without paying for double occupancy.

I actually worked on the proposal for several days, after doing my research, before hitting the “send” button.

This was a huge push beyond my comfort zone, reaching out to a big company with an idea for working together. The point of this activity isn’t receiving a yes or a no…it’s getting beyond feelings of discomfort and inadequacy. What a crazy and fun celebration to kick off the week!

Growing Through Week Two Celebrations Cruise
Growing through week two celebrations – crazy request

Apply to a Writing Fellowship

Immediately on the heels of the crazy request came this activity, applying to a writing fellowship. Fellowships are programs offered to artists. The recipients work on writing or other creative work in beautiful and often isolated areas, for a designated period of time. Most fellowships provide the basics such as shelter and food for one week to three months.

Imagine the freedom to focus on creating art while expenses and needs are taken care of.

What I didn’t know, when adding this activity to the jar, is that this is not the right time of year for applying to writing fellowships. Most accept applications twice a year, in spring and fall. However, it’s been a great experience researching writing fellowships and dreaming big a bit. I found a fellowship in Massachusetts that accepts applications from December 1, 2019 until February 1, 2020. So the timing is perfect actually. I’m researching what I need to do to apply. And then I let that desire go and see what happens!

Growing Through Week Two Celebrations Writing
The Mastheads Writing Fellowship in Massachusetts.

Make Eye Contact and Smile at Everyone All Day

This sounds like a fun and easy activity! However, on the day I drew out this slip of paper, I spent most of the day at home. The only time I left the house, I walked at a nearby park and saw TWO people. I made eye contact and smiled. Both smiled back.

I’ve learned so much about trust, playing this type of game. The right activity shows up on the right day. So what to make of drawing this activity, on a day when I had contact with very few people?

I grew through this activity by making deep and strong eye contact and smiling…at myself. Have you ever stood in front of a mirror and really looked into your own eyes? Do critical thoughts arise? Or do you even like to look at yourself?

I found that the longer I gazed into my own eyes, the more tender I felt toward myself. Negative thoughts were not allowed. Nor did I let my mind wander or create stories. I simply looked into my own eyes and opened my heart to feeling love and compassion. When tears filled my eyes, I knew the activity was over, having led me into myself in a way that I would not have experienced otherwise. The smile that curved my mouth was so genuine and sincere.

Smiling at Myself

Travel a Different Way to a Familiar Location

Along with this 62 day birthday celebration, I’ve challenged myself to walk every day. Mercy Park, located about half a mile from my house, provides the ideal setting for walking and enjoying the beauty that the park offers.

And it’s the only place I traveled to that day! Greg went with me to the park and drove. He’s a good sport about my games. Playing along, he asked what route he should take to the park. Jesting really, I suggested he get there by only making right hand turns. He accepted that challenge and proceeded to make right turns until we arrived at the park!

We definitely traveled to Mercy Park via a different…and longer…route. The only hitch to following such directions presented itself when we needed to park the car. The parking lot lay to the left of the street. Greg solved that problem. He circled to the right in the street until he could pull into the parking space. I’m sure people walking by wondered what we were doing!

Growing Through Week Two Celebrations Driving
Growing Through Week Two Celebrations – Traveling a different way.

Watch a Movie/TV Show in Another Language

This Netflix series came highly recommended to me. Dark is a German series. Dubbing in English is available, which I dislike, or English subtitles. I chose the subtitles. It makes me pay close attention, which is important for this drama with a supernatural twist.

Set in a small German town, the story follows the disappearance of two boys from the community, and the connections among four families. Beyond those connections are similarities to events that happened in the same town in the 1980s.

It’s an intriguing and suspenseful show that has hooked me completely. After I finish the first of two seasons, I’ll do a proper review.

Netflix Series Dark
The Netflix Series Dark, presented in German.

Storyboard Ideas for Online Products

This activity worked well with the brainstorming I did last week, for the blogging business. I used my notes from that session as a springboard for fleshing out the ideas.

Using two large foam boards and sticky notes, I enjoyed letting my ideas grow. I used one board for Cindy Goes Beyond and the other one for Journey With Healthy Me. I’m excited to develop these ideas and create freebies, videos, products and online classes.

Growing Through Week Two Celebrations
Ideas covered by virtual flower stickers. Like flowers, these ideas have growing to do.

Have a Midnight Picnic

This activity, drawn on a day of heavy rain, gave me pause. When I wrote out this celebration, I envisioned drawing the slip of paper on a weekend of mild weather. I saw a fire roaring in the fire pit and a dark velvety sky sprinkled with stars.

Instead I drew the activity on a cold, wet day, making an outdoor midnight picnic impossible.

On Thursday evening, I spread a quilt on the floor of my creative studio. I added pillows and a metal tray holding a cup of hot tea and a bowl of sliced bananas and wild blueberries. Instead of starlight I enjoyed candlelight. And rather than the sounds of a crackling fire, my iPod supplied music. In keeping with the theme of randomness, I set the iPod to shuffle.

As I carried in my tray, the thought arose, “Let go of your expectations. Enjoy what is, right now.” Something shifted in my heart and my attitude. I opened to the experience, as it was, and let go of what wasn’t.

After enjoying my midnight snack, I lay back on the quilt, staring up at the shadows flickering across the ceiling. Such deep peace washed over me. The moment was perfect, in every way. Letting go is a lesson I’ve encountered before. What a gentle reminder to trust that everything in my life…everything…is designed for my growth.

I know now, when I draw out the “camp indoors” activity that I will create a blanket tent in my studio. It is magical by candlelight.

Growing Through Week Two Celebrations
Midnight picnic in my creative studio, with plants, candles and a healthy snack.

Growing Through Week Two Celebrations…and on to Week Three

What an amazing week of activities and celebrations. Did it go the way I thought it would? No. Did it go the way it was supposed to go? Absolutely. And because of that, I grew through the experiences. Trusting…and letting go. Opening to new ideas and thoughts…and moving beyond my comfort zone. Seeing the possibilities in situations…and accepting what is. These are the treasures I gathered to me this past week, the joys that I collected.

I’m excited to see what week three brings!

Week Two Activities

Read about Week One Celebrations

and Week Three

Create your own indoor picnic, with these finds from Amazon:

 


 

Cindy Goes Beyond is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

 

 

Journey 140: Cindy 500

Cindy 500

I’ve been in a playful mood, thinking about my blog post for today. It’s been a week with a couple of milestones so far: the completion of Aubrey’s first year of school, Dayan’s 16th birthday. I decided to write about a milestone that I’ve reached as well, while making a play on words for the blog title, this weekend being the Indy 500 race.

I’ve reached 500 posts on my Going Beyond Blog…507 posts, actually, over 505 consecutive days. 505 days of writing…every day.

The amazing part about this accomplishment is that two years ago this summer, I was challenged to do one thing, every day, for 66 days. The idea was that by doing something every day for 66 days, a new habit would be formed. I thought for only a moment before jotting down this word: WRITE. I wanted to write every day for the next 66 days, creating the habit of writing.

Cindy 500 if you wish to write, write

I’ve long had a interest in creating in this way. One of my gifts as a young child was a typewriter. I’ve had story-telling modeled for me my whole life, my mother being an amazing creator of stories. She told them to my sisters and me, as  children, and later wrote stories for our children, eventually publishing stories in books such as The Chicken Soup for the Soul series. She’s also had three children’s chapter books published. I started on that tiny typewriter, and wrote for years, into early adulthood….stories and poems primarily…later writing with a pencil in notebooks.

And then life got busy, with a husband and children. I thought, When the kids go off to school, I’ll write again. And I did, for a short time. Then I made the decision to bring my children home and educate them myself. We became homeschoolers and life shifted in huge ways. I set the writing aside, with no regrets. I raised my kids, taught my kids, was taught life lessons, by my kids. And when they entered college or married and left home, rather than return to writing, I entered real estate.

Cindy 500 youve got to write

No excuses. I could have made the time, structuring my day so that I had plenty of time for writing.  I did keep my desire to write alive. I created a monthly homeschool newsletter, with a feature article about what adventures the kids and I were involved in, and included samples of their work or cartoons and drawings they had done. In real estate, I created a monthly email as well, for several years, writing in an informational way. I even started a real estate blog years ago. Strangely enough, I found myself writing not about real estate in that blog…but life. Seeing the dichotomy, I posted in it infrequently, confused, I think, about what I wanted to share.

Life kept offering invitations, though, kept reminding me of my desire to write. That desire grew, fed by speaking and teaching opportunities. It is so beautiful, so amazing, that the challenge that was issued to me, to pick one thing to do, and do it for 66 days, came at a workshop led by Gary Keller, the owner of Keller Williams. That reminder came through real estate. I shouldn’t be surprised. It was where I was, and life meets us exactly where we are and invites.

Cindy 500 writing quote

I’d like to say that I nailed it two years ago…writing for 66 days. I wrote every day…for four days. And then I quit. It was difficult. I dawdled. I floundered. I let other things get in the way. I failed at that attempt at writing daily, however, the intention went out, the desire went out. I want to write…every day. And life, or the Divine….to me, life IS part of the Divine…brought me the perfect way to accomplish my intention.

I had no purpose connected to writing every day, when I made the first attempt. I had nowhere to go with it. For me, it wasn’t enough just to say I was going to write every day. I had to have a reason to write. So one arrived. As 2013 was drawing to a close, my new word, Beyond, came to me. I heard of Lu Ann Cahn and her amazing year of first things…doing something new every day. I embraced her idea, knowing that doing something new, daily, would definitely push me beyond my comfort zone. And to be accountable, to capture what I was doing each day, so I wouldn’t forget, I began the Going Beyond Blog…and wrote in it EVERY DAY….for 365 days. What I couldn’t do before, I was able to do with the blog, because I had a reason for writing. I linked creating with purpose.

Cindy 500 alchemist

The amazing gift of writing every day for a year was that I learned the discipline of writing. Full days, being busy, not feeling like writing…none of those excuses deterred me. I just did it. And I loved it. I reconnected with that creative energy that I had as a child and teenager….and I wrote. A laptop, and sometimes my cell phone, replaced my little blue and white typewriter. The sheer joy of writing became the force behind my daily posts…so much so that as 2014 was winding down, I knew I wanted to keep going, keep writing.

505 days of writing, and counting…that’s 501 days longer than what I was able to do before. I am so grateful that as my intention went out….life answered, and the Divine presented my word, my symbol, what I would do, as a way of offering me the opportunity to live my desire. There’s no stopping me now. I don’t know where this path is going to take me. I don’t need to know. I just need to write. And the Divine, and Life, will arrange the rest.

Cindy 500 box of crayons

Day 364: 2014 WordPress Review

wordpress logo

Unbelievably, 2014 is almost finished. Soon it will be memory and history. It has been an amazing year for me. I look forward to sharing more tomorrow. Tonight, I am working on creating a pictorial review, as part of today’s first, to share tomorrow. It stretches me, technology wise, to create such a massive project. And, I’m not sure yet it is going to work!

I’m using a program on my computer to create the slideshow, set to music. The part I’m unsure about is whether the program can handle 365 photos….one from each of my firsts. If not, I’ll adapt. Because adaptability has been one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from my Year of Firsts, and Going Beyond.

Even if the slideshow doesn’t work as I hope it will, it has been wonderful to sort through the pictures tonight, and remember. A year is a long time. I’m so glad for this blog and the photos because I’d not be able to hold it all in my memory. As I looked at the pictures, I’d smile, or tear up, or say, “Oh,yeah…I’d forgotten about that!” This has been a rich and precious journey, and I’m so grateful for it and for the incredible people who shared it with me.

WordPress surprised me today with an annual report, which I will share this evening, as the rest of my first. It’s been amazing, this writing experience, and it is paving the way for more opportunities. I know some blogs receive a million or more views a MONTH. My little blog has well over 15,000 views now, for the year, and I’m just thrilled with that. It was totally unexpected, that I would develop a following. Viewers from 70 different countries have visited the blog, and that amazes me too. I have a little following in India, for example, who seem to enjoy the blog post about Maya Angelou’s poem, “Caged Bird”. And it thrills my heart to see viewers checking in from New Zealand, the UK, Russia and Spain….countries all over the world. Each visitor is so welcomed. Each person is an encouragement to me.

A year ago on this date, I was looking ahead, excited and yet nervous, and wondered how I would be able to complete this adventure. Today, knowing it is almost done, I marvel that the year went by so fast. And the nervousness disappeared a long time ago. Thank you for traveling with me!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 15,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Day 17: Random Notes of Encouragement

Image

This weekend, beginning today at noon, is the 2nd Annual Pay it Forward Weekend, as promoted by a Facebook group on that social media site. This event fits wonderfully with my desire to experience a first every day, and I have three days to come up with ways to anonymously show kindness to others.

For today’s first, I came up with the idea of writing encouraging notes to post on random cars in a retail parking lot. I enlisted the help of my grandson, Dayan. We parked my car in a sea of other vehicles and discussed what encouraging words to write. We each wrote several notes and then something magical happened. Dayan began to draw on each note, beautifully illustrating our words with inspiring designs. I was so moved, I had him do the artwork on all the notes.

Then came the fun part.  I explained to my grandson that we would select cars randomly and carefully tuck the notes under the windshield wipers. I also gave Dayan the option of observing this part if it made him feel uncomfortable. He thought it over briefly and then decided he wanted to move beyond his comfort zone also. Yes! We divided the notes and off we went.

We moved quickly among the cars, letting our hearts guide us to the car whose owners most needed the encouraging words. When we met again a few minutes later, we were laughing, our hands empty and our hearts full. We have no idea how the notes were received. We don’t need to know. We moved as we were inspired to move. Whatever unfolds next, is BEYOND us!