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

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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

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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!