7 Truths About Positive People

I admit it. I’m a positive person. Put simply, positive people are hopeful, encouraging and optimistic, even when faced with challenges, problems or set backs. Being optimistic isn’t the same as being unrealistic, although I’ve been accused of that. It also doesn’t mean that higher energy people don’t feel sadness, grief, anger or uncertainty occasionally. They just don’t get taken out by those situations and emotions.

I’ve compiled a short list of seven truths about positive people, characteristics that can be adopted by anyone who desires to shift a negative attitude.

7 Truths About Positive People

1. They express gratitude.

Expressing gratitude aloud, through prayer, meditation or song, or in journals is essential. One negative experience during the day can overshadow the good experiences we had. Expressing gratitude shifts attention from the negative to the positive. Research has shown that gratitude significantly increases happiness and wellbeing while lowering stress, anxiety and depression.

Tip: Strengthen your gratitude by writing five things you are grateful for, at the end of each day.

2. They reframe challenges.

Positive people don’t live challenge free lives. They view them differently. A challenge can shut us down or shift us into victim mode or present an opportunity for growth. I choose to see the potential for learning and growing. One of my favorite things to remember when encountering a problem is that someday I will look back at this time and see the tremendous shifts that occurred as a result.

Tip: During a challenging time, write a letter to yourself from your future self, five years down the road, detailing how you grew through this time. Bonus: Save the letter and read it five years later.

3. They look for the silver lining.

Bad things happen and tragedies occur. Positive people don’t pretend bad things never happen. They do what they can to help themselves and others through the experience, without glossing over what happened. And, they look for that silver lining. Looking for the good, they find it. The 2011 tornado in Joplin was devastating. Lives were lost. An unbelievable amount of damage was done. I was affected as was my family. As a result of that destruction however, a community came together. Whole neighborhoods changed, for the better. Volunteers blessed us. And I got new dirt, in a new yard, and at last created my long dreamed of Backyard Paradise.

Tip: Practice looking for the good when bad things happen…for what we focus on, we find. If we look for good, we will find it. If we look for bad, we will find that too.

4. Positive people practice excellent self care.

We cannot take care of others, and encourage them, unless we first do the same for ourselves. Self care looks differently for everyone, however a solid foundation includes eating healthy foods, getting enough rest, being active, spending time doing favorite things, and developing a spiritual practice. Positive and negative have to do with energy. Positive energy has a higher vibration while negative energy is lower. Taking care of the body, mind, emotions and spirit results in a higher vibrational frequency that we experience as bliss and joy.

Tip: Create an easy to follow self care regimen that includes diet, rest, exercise, fun and a spiritual practice.

7 Truths About Positive People

5. They use positive words.

Positive people express themselves with positive words. Words are powerful. They create reality. We literally speak our reality into existence. Don’t believe me? Start your day with a string of low energy, negative words and see how your day progresses from there! The words we speak to ourselves and about ourselves are crucial as well. If we constantly criticize ourselves or call ourselves names, we will live up…or down…to that spoken expectation. And if we are in the habit of criticizing ourselves, we are much more likely to criticize others. In spite of the nursery rhyme “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”, words DO hurt. Negative words have a negative impact on the body. For a fascinating study about this truth, see Dr. Emoto’s work.

Tip: Wear a wrist band or a simple rubber band around the wrist and every time you catch yourself saying negative words, or even having negative thoughts, flip it. Set a goal of going an entire day without speaking negatively.

6. They don’t dwell on the past.

Dwelling in the past, blaming the past, does not contribute to a positive now. The past is unchangeable. Thinking about what’s happened, reliving it or talking about it constantly keeps us stuck there. And it keeps our energy low. Low energy = negative energy. I love the expression about not looking at the past…we aren’t going that way. Positive people focus on the present moment and let the future unfold. Sure, we can have dreams and goals for the future. Stressing about outcomes though isn’t helpful either. Let go of the past. Turn around. Live in the moment. Embrace what comes.

Tip: Create a focus word that immediately brings you into the present moment, when you realize you are dwelling on a past experience. My word is adsum, which means “I am here”. Use any word that is meaningful to you.

7. They don’t get drawn into other people’s drama.

Drama has a negative, draining effect. Some people, however, seemed to prefer to dwell there and want to ensnare others to occupy that space with them. Misery loves company. Eliminating drama from our lives means refusing to get drawn into it to begin with. Which in turn means being careful about who we hang out with. Because like draws like, being positive will naturally attract more positive people while being unattractive to negative people. Positive people may occasionally have to deal with drama, however they do not stay in that space. It does not feel good.

Tip: If you find a lot of drama going on around you, use it as a sign to increase positivity in your life. Use the six tips above to shift your energy. When you must deal with drama, offer help and then exit the situation as quickly as possible and practice extreme self care.

I don’t regret being a positive person. Truthfully, I don’t know any other way to be. Being positive doesn’t make me unsympathetic toward others. Rather, it gives me empathy and compassion for others, especially those who are struggling or hurting.

Recently my granddaughter, who is an old soul in a young body, said to me, “Yaya, you’re a positive person. What do you think about this?” She went on to talk to me about a very negative situation. How precious and tender her heart is, and how special the opportunity she offered. I told her that yes, I’m a positive person but that bad things are not okay with me. They make me angry or sad too, however I don’t stay that way for long. I attempt to change what I can and hope for the best. I let her see the tears in my eyes and I saw the tears in hers. Our conversation ended with hugs and I love yous.

That’s what’s at the heart of a positive attitude. Love. Love and the desire to do good in the world and good in the lives of others and to see things in the best possible light. I can do that. You can do that.

7 Truths About Positive People

Stop Blaming Circumstances

Tonight’s post was inspired by an Instagram story. Beneath a photo of a smiling family, who lives on a renovated bus and travels around the country, was this quote from George Bernard Shaw:

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.”

Stop Blaming Circumstances

What are Circumstances?

I love the words of George Bernard Shaw. Thinking about them, I looked up the definition of circumstance this evening.

Circumstance – noun – an event or fact that causes, or helps to cause, something to happen, typically something undesirable.

Circumstances are a set of conditions or a series of actions or a turn of events that lead to a particular outcome, usually one we don’t want. At least, that’s the perception.

Blame is a crucial factor here.

This happened as a result of these things.

Blame assigns responsibility for a fault or a wrong to someone or something else. Blaming circumstances becomes apparent when the word because pops up.

I can’t go to college because no one in my family has. (circumstance)

I’m stuck in this job/relationship/poor health because I’m too old/scared/tired to do otherwise. (circumstance)

Stop Blaming Circumstances

Creating New Circumstances

What does it mean to look for the circumstances we want, or create new ones? It means we eliminate the because and all that follows it. We stop casting blame and assigning responsibility to someone or something else.

Circumstances shift when we take responsibility for who we are and our own actions. Perception shifts as well. And then the outcome opens to new possibilities.

Author, speaker and teacher Byron Katie uses a technique that’s helpful here, called the turn-around. The turn-around encourages us to look at new truths by turning our thoughts around.

I can’t go to college because no one in my family has.

Eliminate because and the belief after.

I can’t go to college.

Apply the turn around.

I CAN go to college.

Create new circumstances.

I CAN go to college and I will by applying for grants and scholarships.

Creating a New Life

The young couple in the Instagram photo sold their house, with the hopes of traveling as a family. They didn’t want to rent or buy another house. Their circumstances weren’t ideal for what they wanted to do. However, they created new circumstances. They bought a bus. Turned it into a home on wheels. And now…they travel. They are living their dream.

In my own life, I recently shifted my circumstances too. I moved from a limiting belief to a liberating one:

I can’t walk or do the things I want to do because a car accident damaged my back and legs.

I can’t walk or do the things I want to do.

I CAN walk and do the things I want to do.

I CAN walk and do the things I want to do and I will by looking at my health in a different way and asking for Divine guidance.

I quit blaming the car accident for my poor health. I quit accepting that circumstances were what they were and unchangeable. Taking back responsibility for my own health and asking the Divine for guidance opened possibilities which shifted my beliefs about the cause of my poor health.

You know the rest of my story. I am healed, walking without pain, and I am doing the things I want to do. Shifting the way I viewed circumstances and stopping the blame created a new life for me.

What circumstances are you blaming, for being where you are in life? How can you “get on in this world” and “look for the circumstances you want”? If you could make your own circumstances, what would they look like?

And finally what’s stopping you?

No blame. Accept responsibility. Shift and create. I’ll meet you on the road to a new life.

Stop Blaming Circumstances

Inviting Fear to Pull Up a Chair

Every morning, I get an email containing a personalized message, from the Universe. Started by Andy Dooley in 1998, Notes from the Universe grew from a subscriber list of 38 to more than 750,000 in 185 countries. I’ve been receiving these emails for ten years. They often make me smile or stir my heart or resonate with me as deep truth.

Such was the case today. I received this note:

“Sometimes, Cindy, instead of running from something scary in your life, it’s easier to learn not to be scared of it. Let it stay. Pull up a chair. Share some iced tea. 

Besides, Cindy, you’re bigger… and you have wings.”

I immediately identified with this note, in a very personal way.

Inviting Fear to Pull Up a Chair

Overshadowed by Fear

I grew up afraid of the dark. That’s a common fear for kids. Not being able to see in the dark or anxiety about the unknown is the psychological reason given for this childhood phobia.

However, being a child born with the gift of perceiving the spirit world, my fear was rooted in what I could see and hear and feel in the darkness. As the first born child in my family, I usually had a bedroom to myself. The most terrifying situation for me growing up was waking up in the middle of the night, alone in the darkness.

And…I did not outgrow that fear. I slept with a nightlight or stairwell light on until I was well into my 40s.

Inviting Fear to Pull Up a Chair

Facing Fear

I made a decision when I reached my late 40s. Tired of the iron grip terror had on me, I radically shifted. I had never lived alone because of the sense of dread that overcame me each evening as the sun set. To move beyond my fear of the dark, I had to face my fears head on. For the first time in my life, I chose to live on my own and take an inner journey into the very heart of darkness.

It wasn’t easy, however this battle was necessary. At stake was my creativity, my freedom and at the core, my identity. I could not accept who I was while expending huge amounts of energy doing everything I could to avoid scary situations. And trust me, I spent a lifetime attempting to control the elements that triggered fear. I was tired of avoiding, tired of being afraid.

Inviting Fear to Pull Up a Chair

Inviting Fear to Stay

These are the steps I took to move past fear:

• I allowed myself to feel it. I’d spent so many years trying to prevent being afraid. It was time to allow fear to be present. As this morning’s note suggested, I invited fear in.

• Journaling daily helped me to uncover deeper issues. My fear stemmed from being different, from seeing and hearing things other people didn’t. Embracing who I am and accepting my unique gifts allowed me to reframe my fears and gave me a fresh perspective. As fearful as I was, nothing ever hurt me. I began to express gratitude for being me.

• Meditation helped me to calm anxieties and slow my heart rate and breathing. I learned about energy and Divine protection. And I learned how to use energy practices to make myself feel safe, even when alone in the dark.

• I recognized that I was never really alone and that I had been protected my whole life. I consciously asked the Divine to surround me with protective white light and I sent that light throughout my dwelling place, cleansing the space of any low, dark or negative energy. Every night I asked for angels to stand guard at each door and window.

• For a few months, I played music every night as I slept. The sound of the group Third Day was comforting to me, and filled the darkness with praise and songs of worship.

Inviting Fear to Pull Up a Chair

Inviting Fear to Pull Up a Chair

The evening arrived, after months of intense inner work, when I felt ready to invite fear in for a long chat. I turned off all the lights in my home, lit a few white candles and sat quietly in a chair. Then I waited, taking long slow deep breaths, sending out energy, and asking for Divine protection.

When fear showed up, I allowed it to stay, figuratively getting cozy with it. I worked through many emotions that night, and again and again, I looked at fear without flinching. Eventually fear bowed and stepped aide. And beyond it doors that had long been barricaded opened wide, revealing the most amazing gifts.

My life shifted that night. Fear’s icy grip around my heart loosened and then fell away. And my inner child came out of hiding. We continue to get to know each other again, my inner playful, artistic child and I.

Does fear ever show up now? Yes. Fear is a bully. Intimidation is its favorite ploy. But I know what to do when I feel the lightest touch of disquiet. I don’t allow the uneasiness to escalate to full blown terror. Instead, I breathe. Meditate. Ask for Divine protection. Express gratitude. Examine my surroundings to see what’s going on, in this world and the spirit world. And I check in with myself, to see what deeper lessons are being offered in the experience. I prevail.

Fear and I have yet to share a glass of iced tea. However, I brew an excellent cup of hot herbal tea. So pull up a chair, Fear. Stay a while. Teach me what I need to learn. And have a cup of tea. I’ll tell you a story…

Inviting Fear to Pull Up a Chair

Leaving a Footprint

This morning began as “one of those days”. Seemingly out of nowhere, fear popped up and assaulted me. The enormity of my dreams seemed overwhelming, especially when contrasted with my current reality.

Oh, I can look back and see how far I’ve come in the last few years. I can track each step, see each faint footprint of my journey. Looking ahead, however, into new and unknown terrain can both excite me and intimidate me.

When faced with uncertainty, I am aware of the danger of closing off my heart, as a protective measure. I refuse to close. To stay open I asked for Divine help. Dream Giver, can you show me today that my dreams are not impossible?”

Leaving a Footprint

Signs Throughout the Day

When I ask a question, I receive an answer. It’s vital that I remain in a state of openness and high awareness, because the answers can come from a variety of sources.

Leaving a Footprint

I Am

This large photographic mural covers the side of a building in downtown Joplin. My daughter happens to work in this building, which is why my eyes were drawn to it this morning as I passed by.

Titled I Am Joplin, the mural is made up of black and white photos of people holding signs that state…I Am. The subjects of the photos completed the signs with words such as Hopeful, Grateful, Silly and A Dreamer.

Seeing the mural reminded me of the power contained in the words I Am. Whatever we add after those two words reveals what we think and more importantly, what we believe is true. I received this message and immediately applied it, whispering I am a Dreamer. I am Capable. I am Creative. And, I am creating the life of my dreams.

Leaving a Footprint

I Can Go the Distance

Another answer that I received this afternoon came unexpectedly through a song from the Disney film, Hercules. I suddenly, out of the blue, thought of the singer Michael Bolton. Well known in the 80s and 90s for ballads and soulful tunes, I still appreciate Michael’s rich, distinctive voice.

Curious after he came to mind, I looked him up on Instagram. His newest release from 2017 is titled Songs of Cinema. I opened the album in the music app Spotify, where songs can be listened to on shuffle. When I clicked shuffle, Go the Distance played first. I love this song, although I had forgotten about it. The words moved me, and became a balm to my heart even as they answered my question.

Listen to Go the Distance.

Leaving a Footprint

The most powerful answer to my question was actually the first one that I received, almost immediately after I asked. I had to ponder it all day.

I asked my question as I showered this morning. Many of my deeper thoughts and great questions and greater answers arrive while I shower. After toweling dry, I stepped onto the floor, and as I took another step, my attention was directed to the tile. The perfect outline of my foot remained there.

My first thought was, I definitely have an arch. Something held my gaze as I studied my own footprint. Because of the hollow of my arch, there appeared to be a yin yang design on the floor, with five distinct toe prints above it. As I watched, the footprint slowly dried and faded away, until it was gone.

Tears just as slowly filled my eyes, signifying an important moment. What message was being given to me?

By definition, a footprint is an impression left behind by a person. A trackway is a set of footprints that can be followed. Although the footprint from my damp foot quickly disappeared, I realized the impression I am leaving as I journey remains, for those who would follow.

My dream, my intention, is to be very aware of the footprints I am leaving behind, literally and figuratively. I am looking ahead, as I journey onward and upward, however I needed this reminder today that I can be an example that anything is possible, any dream achievable, no matter our age, circumstances or past. I am called, by the Dream Giver, and I must respond to that invitation.

Answers Received

In beautiful, soul stirring ways, my question was answered today. I am…a Powerful Dreamer. I can go the distance. I received a confirmation letter this afternoon that my next trip is booked, which was a bonus, a playful wink from the Divine. And I was reminded that what I am doing matters. I am leaving my footprint, my impression, on this earth.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote:

“Lives of great men all remind us we can make our lives sublime. And, departing, leave behind footprints on the sands of time.”

Daring to pursue the life of my dreams, I can dare as well to leave my footprint on the sands of time.

Leaving a Footprint

The Unique Sound of My Ancestry

Late last year, I spit into a test tube and submitted my DNA to Ancestry.com, curious to discover the origins of my ancestors. A few weeks later, I got the results back. As more and more people have tracked their ancestry this past year, by submitting their own DNA, the better the company has been able to refine the results.

The Unique Sound of My Ancestry

Updated Ancestry

Recently I received updated results that better define the regions of the world that my ancestors came from. England, Wales and Northwestern Europe comprise my greatest ethnicity, followed by Ireland and Scotland. These regions appeared on my first set of results. However my updated report listed several new regions while eliminating low confidence areas. The newly added regions included Germanic Europe, Sweden and areas in Central Africa that include Cameroon, Congo and the Southern Bantu Peoples.

I am in the process of exploring my heritage through the Ancestry website, creating a detailed family tree. I’m back seven generations and excited to learn more about my diverse background and the many unique individuals that contributed to me being the person I am.

The Unique Sound of My Ancestry

The Sound of Ancestry

Just this past week, a marvelous opportunity was presented, through a partnership between Ancestry and the online music streaming service, Spotify. They create, for free, an eclectic playlist of songs inspired by each participant’s origins.

I could choose up to five regions, which is precisely the number I have, and Spotify selected four representative songs per area. This is such a clever idea…and I adore cleverness.

I immediately accepted this gracious invitation and submitted my regions to Spotify, who then created a playlist that uniquely captures who I am.

The Unique Sound of My Ancestry

Inspired by My Ancestry

I spend quite a lot of time in the car. The last few days I’ve been listening to the Unique Sound of My Ancestry as I drive. From African chants to the English group Duran Duran to German jazz, my car is filled with a blend of music that is indeed as unique as I am.

I am enchanted. My heart beats faster and my eyes fill with tears. I am beyond grateful for such a beautiful gift.

And I am inspired. I’m inspired and moved by music that represents my heritage, and I am inspired and motivated to not only learn all I can about each of my regions, but to visit them as well.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, “Music is the universal language of mankind.”

The world is speaking to me through music as well, and it is a siren call, an invitation. My heart and soul are responding.

The Unique Sound of My Ancestry

Six Ways Travel Helps Me Grow

I recently saw a simple quote, a list of words really, that so resonated with me.

Travel. Learn. Grow.

Those words brilliantly capture what I love about traveling and why my heart sings when I visit new places. As I pondered the quote I came up with six ways travel helps me grow.

Six Ways Travel Helps Me Grow

How travel helps me learn and grow

I had the opportunity last year to visit four countries…Italy, Ireland, Scotland and England…during two separate trips. This is what I learned.

1. Strangers can become family. I traveled to Italy in the company of my daughter Elissa and grandson Dayan. We joined with a group of other travelers from around the world. Not only did I learn new things as a result of the Italian culture, I learned from the people in the tour group. How amazing and enlightening to see Italy through my own eyes, and through the eyes of Australians, Iranians and a couple from India. Our diverse group very quickly formed strong family bonds.

Six Ways Travel Helps Me Grow

Six Ways Travel Helps Me Grow

2. Family can be strange. Just kidding! If we are strange, we consider that Divine. I traveled with a group on my second trip as well, all family members. I learned that it is very doable for five people to plan a trip that makes everyone happy. Ensuring each person has a say in the itinerary and gets to select favorite activities is important. We watched out for each other, listened, and made compromises if necessary. Above all, we looked for the adventure in each day.

3. Adventures appear in unexpected ways. Go with the flow. Elissa, Dayan and I learned this truth immediately when storms in the Charlotte, North Carolina area caused our plane to reroute. As a result we missed our overseas flight. I had the choice of railing against what happened or staying open and watching for other opportunities. When we let go of expected outcomes and stayed open, miracles happened. We were among the few who flew out of Charlotte that night, thanks to the appearance of an angel named Jason who got us onboard a plane bound for London.

4. Getting lost can lead to finding what one is truly searching for. In Scotland my brave sister Debbie drove us all over the country in a rental car. When the GPS system went awry, we ended up off our chosen route. And yet that’s when the magic happened and we encountered sights we did not expect to see. Because of our wandering, I got to cross several places and attractions off my wish list.

Six Ways Travel Helps Me Grow

Six Ways Travel Helps Me Grow

5. Embracing new experiences guarantees that more will arrive. When traveling in a country for the first time, every sight, every experience is new. The food is different. The language requires concentration, even when it’s heavily accented English. And the culture is fresh whether it is ancient or constantly changing.

The less preconceived ideas I have about what I will experience, the more I learn and grow. In Italy I initially wasn’t excited about visiting the churches and cathedrals. These magnificent structures are the heart of every city and town, village and piazza. The architecture and the museum quality art within astonished and moved me. I would have missed incredible sights and opportunities if I had dismissed visiting those basilicas and chapels.

6. Travel enriches my life and expands my soul. For me, nothing in this life is more expansive than seeing new places and meeting new people. The history, the magic, the mystery and noise and spirit of a place, all call to me. Each country that I visited has ancient stories, symbols, songs and art. It’s more than knowledge that I collect as I travel, it’s a knowing, a recognizing, and a greater awareness of the richness and diversity of life. I love watching people. And I love taking time for solitude and deep inner reflection.

Six Ways Travel Helps Me Grow

Six Ways Travel Helps Me Grow

Where to Travel to Next

For me, there are many reasons to travel. Learning and growing and becoming more expansive tops my list of why I travel and why I long to experience more. Wandering is in my blood, exploring in my DNA.

I am creating a life that allows my heart, soul and body to be untethered and free to roam about the planet. These six ways that travel helps me grow is just a beginning, as is the list of countries I intend to visit.

There are many places I want to explore and get to know. I have so much more to learn.

Six Ways Travel Helps Me Grow

Let the Games Begin

This story tonight falls under the category of “blew me away”, otherwise known as playing with the Divine. The references to the Queen chess piece, my confirmed symbol for 2019, just keep pouring in from an endless variety of sources. Something happened today that not only made me laugh with delight, it raised my awareness a notch. I can say with anticipation, Let the games begin.

Let the Games Begin

A new school year began recently, and one of my great joys as a Yaya is to bring lunches to my grandkids and join them in their respective cafeterias throughout the year. Today I visited granddaughter Aubrey at her school, supplying her with a favorite meal from Subway.

Let the Games Begin

The principal at Aubrey’s school is very interactive with the kids. As they eat their lunches, he plays educational games with them, shares fun trivia or allows them to have singing contests. I appreciate that rather than sitting in silence, eating a quick lunch, there’s cheerful chatter that contributes to a fun atmosphere.

As the oldest kids in the school, the 4th graders eat last. While students polished off their lunches, Dr. Barlow wheeled in a laptop on a cart and turned on two large screens mounted in the corners of the cafeteria, which doubles as an auditorium.

Aubrey and I were chatting as she ate, and at first I didn’t realize what the principal was doing. He invited kids to form a line in front of the computer and play a game that everyone could observe on the big screens. The kids were playing an online version of chess!

Let the Games Begin

I’ve been present for many lunches in this school cafeteria over the last few years, and this is the first time I’ve seen chess offered as an interactive game with the children. Aubrey verified this was a new activity. As I watched in amazement, Dr. Barlow launched into a brief explanation of the game. When he mentioned how important the Queen chess piece is, I laughed with delight.

Seeing my granddaughter’s puzzled look I explained to her that the Queen chess piece is my new symbol for next year. We had a conversation about how I am given the word and symbol each year and how they guide me by setting a theme. She may not have completely understood the significance of what was happening, with the unexpected game of chess being played in the cafeteria, but it is important that she sees me being grateful and amazed with how life unfolds. And it is important that she begins to grasp that the Divine is orchestrating it all.

Let the Games Begin

I left the school, still marveling at the creative cleverness I had just experienced and the timing of it all. If I had any lingering doubts about embracing the Queen as my symbol for next year, they have been completely dispelled. In extraordinary and almost unbelievable ways my attention has been directed over and over to the Queen chess piece, and the qualities of queenship.

A few days ago, as I sorted through a box of odds and ends from Greg’s parents’ house, I almost tossed a couple white vintage cruet toppers that did not have cruets to top. They seemed useless. And then, that prompting came to look at them more closely. Turning them over in my hand, I saw it. They resemble chess pieces…specifically, Queen chess pieces. They are the start of a collection that I will surely add to during the next 16 months.

Aubrey asked me if I played chess, and owned a chess set. I no longer own the board and pieces however I do know how to play chess. She would like to learn. I will be purchasing the perfect board and set of chess pieces that represent what’s going on in my life.

Thinking about our conversation today and that online chess game brought a new realization. There is more going on here than being presented with a symbol for next year. The playfulness and creativity is a Divine invitation to join in at a deeper level. The repetitive occurrences are to ensure that I don’t miss the invite.

A little over a year ago, when I asked the Divine, Will you play with me? the immediate response was, Will YOU play with ME?

This is a continuation of that conversation. Next year things are going to get interesting…glory, they already are…and I can’t wait to see what unfolds. Will I play? Oh yes, let the games begin! We will figure out the rules as we go along.

Let the Games Begin

Loving My Whole Story

After another long day in real estate, I chose to share a few thoughts late this evening, around a quote about story that caught my attention earlier in the week. Blogger Melanie Moushigian Koulouris, who describes herself as possessing a gypsy soul, wrote:

“Love your whole story, even if it hasn’t been the perfect fairy tale.”

Loving My Whole Story

Because of the work I have been doing, to reclaim aspects of my childhood and rescue my inner child, I can definitely relate to Melanie’s words. One of the most important truths I’ve learned in the last eight years of my journey is that my whole story matters.

For most of my life I distanced myself from portions of my story and myself. I hid away the weird bits and the scary parts and locked away my wee self to keep her quiet and make myself and my life appear more normal.

But who wants to be normal? Where’s the magic and the fun in that?

Just like the fairy tales I adored as a child, I was not the person I appeared to be. The spell I was under wasn’t placed upon me by a witch dressed as an old woman. I cast it. And only I could break it. How truly magical it has been to embrace my whole story, even though it has been far from perfect. The imperfections in my life lend me character and give me compassion towards others.

I purposefully chose the symbol of the glass slipper for my title meme. Cinderella was gifted with those special shoes by her fairy godmother and whisked away to the ball to meet the prince.

To me, those slippers made from glass represented Cinderella’s transparency. She lived a far from perfect life. Her parents were dead. She was being raised by an evil stepmother and bullied by self-centered stepsisters. However, she held onto who she was…a kind young woman whose beauty radiated outward from a loving heart.

Wearing those shoes, and a lovely gown instead of rags, allowed Cinderella’s real self to shine even brighter. Ironically her fears that the prince would not accept who she became when the clock struck midnight muddied the girl’s transparency a bit.

That fear, and the resulting flight from the ball, caused her to step out of the shoes…and back into her former story. She had discovered a new chapter though, a new way to exist. And ultimately Cinderella embraced her whole story and lived as her true self happily ever after.

As a child who loved to run barefoot, I always thought those glass slippers must have been mighty uncomfortable to wear. I wonder now if subconsciously what I really thought was that transparency would be mighty uncomfortable. And I was not ready to be transparent.

Transparency can be scary. To be truly and deeply seen can be both uncomfortable and unsettling.

It’s all okay. I’m learning to love my whole story, the good parts, the not so good parts, the sad and scary and little-girl-lost chapters, along with the fun sections and the exuberant and magical parts. My fairy tale isn’t perfect, nor would I want it to be. It’s all my story. I’m loving myself though it.

And…I’m wearing those dang glass slippers.

Loving My Whole Story

5 Sentence Writing Challenge

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!

5 Sentence Writing Challenge

Challenge On

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…

5 Sentence Writing Challenge

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.

Fear

Fear

Fear

Fear

Freedom

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.

5 Sentence Writing Challenge

Silencing the Voice of Doubt

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”.

Silencing the Voice of Doubt

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.

Silencing the Voice of Doubt

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.

Silencing the Voice of Doubt