Finding Your Big Why

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

I first heard about finding your big why ten years ago, in a Keller Williams sponsored class called BOLD. More than training on real estate, the objective of the class was to create a life worth living through shifts in mindset and daily practices that support who we are and what we desire to do.

At that time my big why focused more on an immediate desire…to take my oldest grandchild on a trip to Italy for his high school graduation gift. Looking back now, I realize that wasn’t a big enough why. However, we did travel to Italy four years later…Dayan, my daughter and me.

What I’ve learned since that class is to keep going deeper, to discover the BIG WHY beneath all the other desires and dreams.

I’m here to help you, in finding your big why as well.

Finding Your Big Why title meme

What is a Big Why?

So, what is a big why?

A big why is the strong motivation for doing what you do. It’s not just a goal or a wish, it’s more expansive than that. The big why connects to life purpose and it is what gets you out of bed in the morning and keeps you going, when life gets tough.

Your big why can change as you grow and as life shifts. However, it always aligns with who you are…your most authentic self…and with want you want to do and why you want to do it. Plus it grows beyond you, to include your impact on others and the world.

As a parent with young children, your big why is likely to focus on raising decent human beings. As the kids grow and you experience growth too, the big why shifts to something even BIGGER.

Ultimately, your big why helps you create a life that you love.

“He who has a why can endure any how.”  Frederick Nietzsche

Finding Your Big Why travel
Finding Your Big Why – travel isn’t my big why however it’s an important component of it

Finding Your Big Why Through Reflection

When finding your big why, a time of reflection is helpful.

Grab a pen and a notebook and start by asking yourself these five questions:

  1. Who am I, right now at this stage in my life?
  2. What lights me up and makes my heart sing?
  3. What do I do best?
  4. Where do I add value?
  5. What matters most to me?

Let’s look at each of these questions briefly.

It’s important to know who you are, who you really are. Detach from labels such as “parent”, “spouse”, “teacher”, etc. At a heart and soul level, who are you? Write phrases that begin with “I am….”. I am compassionate or I am a big thinker. I am drawn to nature or I am a solitary person.

What makes your face light up and joy bubble out of your heart? List those things. You know you are on the right track when people tell you that your face lights up when you talk about a certain subject.

What natural talents and gifts to you have? Are you creative? Do you come up with out of the box solutions to problems? If you feel stuck, look at what you excelled at as a child or teen. Those are natural abilities.

In situations, what values do you add? Are you clear thinking and logical? Intuitive and insightful? What strengths do you offer to others?

And finally, what is MOST important to you? Saving animals? Teaching others? Expressing compassion? If you could do anything, without money as a concern, what would you do?

Finding Your Big Why therese
Finding Your Big Why – Therese living her big why…helping others learn about Charleston

Charting Out Your Big Why

Dr. Margie Warrell says that our life’s work and purpose sits at the intersection of talents, skills or expertise, passions and values.

On another page in your notebook, draw a circle in the middle of the page and label it PURPOSE.

Draw four lines outward from the circle and connect them to four large circles. Label each one: TALENTS, SKILLS, PASSIONS, VALUES

Free write in each category. Add your talents, the skills that you have, what you are passionate about and your core values. Look for repetition. Look for overlap.

When I did this exercise writing popped up in three categories, letting me know that it is an important part of my big why.

Finding Your Big Why chart
Finding Your Big Why – chart out your talents, skills, passions and values

Asking Why

Now, armed with your reflections and greater clarity about your purpose, write down what you want.

Then ask why you want that. Write another sentence, explaining the why. Then ask why again…and again…and again, until you get to the Big Why.

Remember, you aren’t looking for inspiration here. You are looking for the motivation that powers you through discouragement, difficult circumstances or the desire to quit.

Here’s an example:

I want to travel and work remotely, from anywhere in the world, making a fabulous income. Why?

I want to experience solo adventures and also take my children, grandchildren and other family members on trips. Why?

I want to expand my perspectives and other people’s perspectives too. Why?

I want to see life in bigger, more meaningful ways and live differently. Why?

I want to live life beyond fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs. Why?

I want to live life beyond fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs so that through my experiences and my writing, I can help others do the same.

Finding Your Big Why charleston
Finding Your Big Why – my solo adventures are a way of living my big why

Living in Alignment with Your Big Why

I want to live life beyond fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs so that through my experiences and my writing, I can help others do the same.

That sentence is my big why. It’s evolved over the last few years.

Everything else in my life connects to my big why. Travel, blogging, what I post on social media, solo adventures, creativity, my plant based lifestyle, spending time with my family…all of it connects.

Travels and adventures continually push me beyond my fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs. Blogging and posting on social media are forms of writing that allow me to creatively express my truths and stories. My plant based lifestyle fuels my body so that I have the energy to do all the things I want to do. And I live my life as an example to my children and grandchildren, not so they do what I do but so they see what it looks like when someone follows their passions and lives an expansive life.

Every thing I do is in alignment with my big why. If it’s not in alignment then I’m pulled out of my purpose and my passion. There is a deep knowing that forms in the gut, an instinctive knowing that I can tap into, when I’m feeling out of the flow of my own life. That knowing guides me back into alignment with myself. It helps me say YES! to new opportunities and no to what does not align.

What is Your Big Why?

Using the info above, I hope you can craft your own big why. I’d love to know what yours is, if you want to share it in the comments below.

Write your big why and keep it in a place that is easily seen every day. My big why has become the tagline to my blog…and my life. Plus, I’ve written it as an affirmation as well.

“I am living life beyond the edges of fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs so that through my example and my writing, I can help others do the same.”

Go deep within, to discover your big why, and then broadcast it outward, into the world. Let it powerfully motivate you and influence every part of your life.

And if you have any questions, please ask me!

Finding Your Big Why cindy
I’ve living my Big Why, which has become extremely important during my Year of the Wild Woman.

 

Helpful Books 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.

 

Yes Month Challenge

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

How fun this month, to receive an invitation to join in on a challenge. A friend of mine on social media decided, during July, to say “yes” to something every day.

I was immediately intrigued. During my Year of Firsts, in 2014, I experienced a Yes Day. I’ve since done that a couple of times. However, I’ve never experienced a yes month.

My first yes for this challenge was accepting the invitation to participate. Check out what I’ve said Yes! to so far and join in on the fun.

Yes Month Challenge title meme

Why Say Yes?

Saying yes opens us up to new opportunities and experiences. And saying yes shows that we are willing to move beyond comfort zones and fears. It’s too easy to utter “no” as our default response to opportunities, requests and invitations. Plus fear crowds in, giving us all kinds of reasons why we should say no instead of yes.

Saying yes allows us to stop procrastinating and to adopt a growth mindset as well.

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, who just soared into space this week, shares this:

“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity, but you are not sure you can do it, say yes…then learn how to do it later!”

Saying yes also ramps up creativity and invites playfulness.

Yes to the trip
Yes to a solo trip and to afternoon tea while there.

Yes…And

In 2015 I attended a writer’s conference in Philadelphia. I enjoyed an improv class there that taught me a valuable lesson.

The instructor led us through a series of conversations. The first one involved saying “no” to all questions asked. No quickly shut down conversations and possibilities. Next we said “yes…but”. Those words limited conversations as well and made communication awkward and difficult. However, when we answered each other’s questions with “yes…and” conversations and creativity flowed. High level energy filled the room.

I witnessed that day how powerful the word “yes” is. It leads to collaborations, more invitations and fun experiences. Yes moves us forward, gets us out of ruts and shifts us into the flow of life.

Of course, there are times to say no. Inappropriate requests are met with no. Overextending oneself repeatedly halts with no. And boundaries are set with no. When no becomes an automatic answer though, it’s time to shake things up and open life back up with yes.

Yes Month Challenge river
Yes Month Challenge – my first yes after accepting the challenge…a walk along the river

The Yes Month Challenge

My online friend Jen, Go Family Adventure on social media, decided to say yes every day during the month of July. She chooses to say yes to things she’d typically brush off, put on the back burner or say no to.

I love her idea of a month long challenge and said “yes, I’ll join in”.

We are sharing our yeses in our stories on Facebook and Instagram. I believe Jen began on July 1. However, I began saying yes on July 5. That’s the beauty of a yes month challenge. It can begin on any day of the month. Simply continue saying yes daily for 30 days.

When I do one of my games, such as my birthday celebrations, I plan it out. Activities are written on slips of paper and dropped into a jar, where I randomly draw one out every day.

For the yes challenge, the idea is to stay open and see what invitations arrive. Opportunities can be as simple as “Want to grab lunch?” to the more complex “Want to collaborate on this project?”

What I’m finding is that multiple opportunities to say yes appear every day. I’m just more aware of them during this challenge. Some days, I say yes to one opportunity. Some days I’ve said yes multiple times.

Yes Month Challenge picnic
Yes Month Challenge – yes to a spontaneous vegan picnic for one

My Yeses

A week into the Yes Month Challenge, I realized I began saying yes! several days before my invitation to join in.

I booked a solo trip to a city I’ve never been to before. Several times I almost backed out of the trip, before I even bought my airline ticket. However, I recognized it was time to push myself beyond my comfort zone and any fears I had about traveling solo. I said yes! and booked that trip.

Other yeses during my first week include:

  • a walk along the river, something I have not done in a while
  • a spontaneous picnic for one in my backyard garden
  • attending the Boss Baby 2 movie with my grandkids, sister and her granddaughter
  • trying something new at one of my favorite restaurants
  • working a 1000 piece puzzle that arrived serendipitously from Scotland
  • planning an afternoon tea time in Charleston during my trip, after a city brochure I received in the mail made me aware of the possibility
  • caring for my teething eight month old granddaughter one afternoon, so her parents could work

And today I said Yes! to writing this post about the challenge.

The fun, for me, is that I do not know ahead of time what invitations or opportunities will arrive. More yeses have shown up, than those I’ve listed above. Being open to possibilities brings more opportunities to actually say yes to.

Yes Month Challenge shrooms
Yes Month Challenge – shroom bowl from The Veggie Table

An Invitation to Say Yes

Saying yes involves trust.

Fear wants you to believe that you will end up doing something you don’t want to do, if you say yes. Not so. You still chose what’s right for you. Fear wants you to believe it is safer to say no. There’s a difference between safety and holding back.

“Jump off this building?” That’s an easy no.

“Speak before this group?” That’s a no because you are afraid…to speak in public, that you will make a mistake, that no one will want to hear what you have to say. What happens if you say yes instead? You move beyond your comfort zone. And you might make a mistake. No one cares. People can learn and receive value from what you have to share.

By saying yes to opportunities, invitations and new experiences we say to the Divine that we trust. We trust that good is intended for us and that we can grow through the experience.

Boss Baby 2 movie
We all said yes! to seeing Boss Baby 2…and we enjoyed the shared experience. Photo shot before movie started.

Will You Say Yes?

Consider this post your invitation to join the Yes Month Challenge. If a month long challenge seems too intimidating, try a Yes Week or a Yes Day. You can start on any day and end the challenge whenever you want. Have fun with it. Invite your children or a friend to join in. Write about your experiences.

It’s your choice. I hope you’ll join me in saying yes!

Let me know if you accept the challenge. And please share some of your yeses with me!

Yes Month Challenge cuddles
A very easy yes, cuddling this sweet girl.

Check out these inspiring books from Amazon:

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

Year of Yes Journal by Shonda Rhimes

The Surrender Experiment by Michael A Singer

I Dare Me by Lu Ann Cahn

 

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.

 

 

 

Wild Woman Manifesto

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

Two years ago, I wrote about creating a personal manifesto. You can read that post HERE.

As a reminder, a manifesto is a statement of intentions and ideals. Think of it as a mission statement or a declaration of beliefs, desires and values.

A personal manifesto helps us to evaluate where we are in life, and provides clarity on where we want to go. It can provoke change, encourage shifts and inspire forward momentum.

Each person’s manifesto is uniquely his or her own, reflecting journeys, beliefs, desires and wisdom.

The thing is as I grow, learn and settle more deeply into who I am, my manifesto changes, as it should. Recently I realized it’s time to update mine.

This is the perfect opportunity, during my Year of the Wild Woman, to make some changes. Here is my Wild Woman Manifesto.

Wild Woman Manifesto title meme

Growth and Change

A personal manifesto reflects an individual’s beliefs, desires and life values. Those naturally change as we learn and grow as humans.

Some of my growth the last couple of years, since I wrote the last manifesto, includes moving deeper into myself, shedding completely the “people pleaser” personality that I had and connecting strongly with my beliefs and desires.

I am becoming. And part of that process involves learning to stand solidly on my own, seeing my value and offering who I am unapologetically to others. I belong to myself, and to no one else.

Brene Brown says:

“True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness.”

She goes on to say that true belonging requires you to be who you are.

This is my journey. I am becoming the Wild Woman who loves her people fiercely, enjoys travel and creative play, values my alone time and marches to the beat that I drum.

Wild Woman Manifesto year
Wild Woman Manifesto – Year of the Wild Woman

Wild Woman Manifesto

Not all of my beliefs, desires and values changed. Some deepened. I’m keeping those. Some no longer quite align with who I am becoming. And some I’ve learned more about, as I discover my voice and open my heart.

You can click the link above, to see my original manifesto. Then check out this year’s Wild Woman Manifesto that accurately reflects where I am at this point in my journey.

I Believe…

  • in Divine guidance  and having a personal relationship with God
  • in a daily, ongoing, playful conversation with the Divine
  • I am called to live life beyond the edges, free from fear and playing small
  • self acceptance and self love are crucial to offering unconditional love to others
  • life unfolds for me in magical, oft times mysterious ways
  • ALL people are worthy of love and we are all connected
  • I am a guardian of the Earth and her precious resources
  • kindness toward others is a strong indicator of a person’s truest heart
  • my most authentic self is unfettered, untamed and free
  • I am a loner at heart…and that’s not a defect
  • happiness is my responsibility and no one else’s
  • I am manifesting a life that’s perfect for me, one day at a time

 

Wild Woman Manifesto making it up
Wild Woman Manifesto – making it up as I go

I Desire to…

  • follow curiosity
  • surrender to the flow of life
  • embrace all of my gifts and my quirks
  • live from my passionate, open heart
  • engage in new experiences
  • travel and work/write remotely from anywhere in the world
  • encourage my children and grandchildren to live authentically and joyfully
  • offer to others through my writing and my life experiences
  • express creativity in a multitude of ways
  • live in the moment, releasing the past and not worrying about the future
  • live a healthy, vibrant plant based lifestyle
  • stay true to who I am, always
  • create a peaceful environment in my home and garden that fully supports me
  • remain unattached to outcomes
  • dream BIG dreams
Wild and Free
Wild Woman Manifesto – wild and free…and ready for adventure

My Life Wisdom…

  • I accept that for me, the veil between this world and the Spirit world is thin
  • my intuition guides me unerringly
  • if I ask a question, I always get an answer
  • I have nothing to fear
  • if fear shows up in my life, it is an invitation to learn and trust
  • I must speak my truth…silence is seen as agreement
  • comparison and worry are thieves of joy
  • I’m 100% responsible for my life and my reactions/responses to life situations
  • I am open to everything and attached to nothing
  • others have the freedom to be exactly who they are at this moment in their lives
  • I’m not here to live someone else’s life or to abide by someone else’s expectations of who they think I am
  • I create change in my life by first shifting my thoughts and beliefs
  • my outer world is a true reflection of my inner one
  • I am the Queen of my own kingdom and it is ever expanding
  • challenging experiences create growth and expansion in my life
  • gratitude is the foundation of my life

Who Are You?

Would you like to write your own personal manifesto? Refer to my post about creating one HERE.

Then spend time reflecting on your life and jotting down what’s true for you under the headers of BELIEFS, DESIRES, VALUES or LIFE WISDOM. DON’T ASK ANYONE ELSE WHAT THEY THINK! This is your deep inner work.

And remain aware that as you grow your manifesto grows with you.

I’ve discovered that not everyone understands my journey. In fact, most people don’t. That’s okay. It’s my journey, my amazing life, my growth.

As I’ve grown and embraced who I am, I’ve lost friends and had people simply disappear without a word from my life, while others tell me I’ve changed so much…as if that’s a bad thing. Someone even said, “I liked you better before.” That’s because before I didn’t speak my truth.

You know what? None of that matters, to me or to you. What matters is that you…and I….live as our most authentic, most courageous selves. We continue the process of becoming. And other people…well they have their own journeys and growing to do. Their remarks or backing away has everything to do with them, not us.

Write that manifesto…and share it with me, if you want.

Wild Woman Manifesto crouch
Wild Woman Manifesto – unapologetically me

Recommended Reading

I highly recommend these books for the journey.

Untamed

Untamed Journal

Braving the Wilderness

Untethered Soul

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.

 

 

How Are You Spending Your Life?

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

Recently I came across a quote that resonated with me deeply.

“And then there is the most dangerous risk of all – the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.” Randy Komisar

These powerful words remind me to not wait. Because honestly, at age 63, waiting is a greater risk than going for it. I refuse to spend my days hoping for opportunities later.

Reading the quote one day, the words “spending your life” suddenly jolted me into a greater awareness. This post, “How Are You Spending Your Life?” is the result of much deliberation.

How Are You Spending Your Life title meme

What Does It Mean to Spend Life?

Have you ever thought about what it means to spend your life doing something?

Spending is defined as “an exchange of money, goods or time for something”. It comes from the Latin word expendere meaning “pay out”. Spend can also mean “to use up time”, as in “spend the day sewing”. And the past tense of the word, spent, means “used up or depleted”.

When we “spend life” we are using it up, day by day, moment by moment, until it is all spent…until it’s gone. And unlike a bank account, where we can spend and spend and then add more money or check the amount so we don’t overdraft, it’s different with life. We don’t know the amount of years deposited in our account. Nor can we deposit more time into it. When the life is spent, that’s it. We can’t hoard our time either.

On the one hand, I know these things. We all do. However, I’ve never thought deeply about what it means, spending my life. What am I spending my life…using it up…on? How are you spending your life?

I’ve already spent 63 years of my life. My desire is to spend my remainder…the balance of my life…doing the things that are most important to me. Using another financial term, it’s important for me to invest in myself and to invest in the lives of others, with the life that I have.

Spending Life Well

What does a life well spent look like? It’s different for each person. However, here are broad ideas for spending the years well.

How Are You Spending Your Life Personally?

Our personal lives include relationships with significant others, family members and friends. A good question to ask is, “Am I spending time with the people I want to spend time with?”

Time is extremely valuable. I don’t want to spend mine with people who are negative or unkind. We all get to choose who we spend time with, who we are exchanging moments of our lives for. Choose well. Spend well. I desire authentic connections that go beyond the surface. I gladly and willingly invest in the lives of my family, my friends and even people I don’t know but feel drawn to. Who are you spending time with?

Hobbies, fun activities, play, exploration and travel are all part of our personal lives. We must do the things we enjoy doing and take a hard pass on the rest. What activities bring you joy? Do more of those. What activities feel like a waste of time? Don’t do those.

It’s important that we know ourselves, to discover what we enjoy and what we don’t. It’s too easy to defer to others or try to please others. Know your own heart, mind and passions. Explore who you are. Find those things that light up your soul. Do those things, as often as you can.

How Are You Spending Your Life reading to Finley
How are you spending your life? I’m investing time in my grandchildren.

How Are You Spending Your Life Health Wise?

One thing that can make a huge difference in spending life well, is improving the level of health. We can’t add more years to life, as the saying goes, but we can add more life to the years. Quality of life feels more and more important, with age. The freedom to spend our years as we choose can come down to how well we take care of ourselves.

Find a health lifestyle that works for you. I’ve chosen a plant based lifestyle. Doing so has already added life to my years, in tremendous ways. (Check out my other blog, Journey with Healthy Me for more info about a plant based lifestyle.)

Feed your body with the most nutritious food possible. Those nutrient dense foods not only fuel the body, they help prevent diseases and disorders. Adopt a fitness routine whether that’s walking, biking, dancing, swimming or playing a sport. Get outdoors as often as you can. Create healthy habits that support the life you desire.

Health encompasses the body, the mind and the spirit. Care for all of you. Pay attention to outlook on life, energy levels, perspectives and mindsets.

Be the best you that you can be, to live the best life you can.

How Are You Spending Your Life veggies
How are you spending your life? Eating highly nutritious foods that fuel my body.

How Are You Spending Your Life at Work?

Is your work or career satisfying or stressful? Is it bold and fulfilling or lackluster and boring? We “spend” so much of our time, working. Can we spend that time and also find joy, purpose and passion? Yes we can.

This area seems to be one that people struggle with. Many people enjoy their work. And many just get by, day after day, year after year, spending away life in an unfulfilling career that drains energy and time away.

What does your ideal career/job look like? What needs to happen, to make it a reality? Write about that ideal job. Do the research. Find people who are doing what you want to do. Don’t fear change. If you don’t go for it now, when will you?

Discover your BIG WHY. Why do you want to do what you want to do? Keep asking why until you get to the deepest, underlying reason for wanting the job or career that you desire. Hint: money isn’t a big enough why.

Now set goals. Break them down into doable time frames. Create actions steps, even small, baby steps, that move you toward each goal.

How Are You Spending Your Life travel
How are you spending your life? Taking action steps toward my dream career that supports my Big Why.

Spending the Days Living Life to the Fullest

What does a life well spent look like? It might look like…

  • going beyond the edges of fear, comfort zones and limiting beliefs
  • being true to yourself, real and authentic
  • trying new experiences
  • forgiving someone, forgiving yourself
  • seeing every day as a fresh start and making it count
  • letting go of the past and living in THIS moment. There are no refunds for life already spent. Move on.
  • expressing creativity
  • exploring the world, your city, your neighborhood, your inner self
  • decluttering life, the house, that junk drawer in the kitchen
  • letting go of attachments and expectations of others
  • believing in yourself
  • having fun and playing
  • finding your passion
  • setting goals and taking action steps
  • taking breaks when needed and practicing self care
  • letting go of all that does not align with who you are
  • spending time with uplifting, positive, passionate people
  • developing a big picture mindset
  • going after what you want
  • living YOUR life, not someone else’s
  • doing good in the world…showing kindness, empathy and compassion to others and being mindful of the planet and caring for it
How Are You Spending Your Life self care
How are you spending your life? With self care practices that rejuvenate me.

Exchanging a Day of Life

The days of deep thought birthed in me a renewed passion for spending my days well. Truthfully, the days pass anyway, whether we consciously focus on how we are spending our lives…or not. I’m grateful for the greater awareness and even more  determined to spend my life in meaningful ways. This past week I invested in myself, set new goals and created action steps to reach them. This Year of the Wild Woman…it’s unleashing many things.

Today these words popped up for me, in an unexpected place.

“What you do today is important, because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.” Elizabeth George

The quote made me smile and silently nod in agreement. Yes, I’ve given a day. I gave precious time from my account in exchange for this day. The awareness helps me choose what’s most important. It helps me gain clarity and fortifies my determination to do what I most want to do. And it fuels my actions for the next day…and the next…and the next.

How about you? How are you spending your life? Are you spending it on the things you most want to spend it on?

How Are You Spending Your Life hourglass
How are you spending your life?

Helpful products 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.

 

 

Choose to Challenge

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

March 8 is International Women’s Day. Additionally, the entire month is devoted to National Women’s History.

I typically celebrate the day with social media posts that feature the year’s theme. This time, with 2021 my Year of the Wild Woman, a longer post feels more appropriate.

Discover the origins of this day that celebrates women around the world. And join me in recognizing some amazing women.

Choose to Challenge title meme 2

Origins of International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is a globally recognized day, celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It’s also a day to join together to promote women’s equality.

International Women’s Day has occurred annually for more than 100 years. The first official honoring of the day took place simultaneously in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on March 19, 1911. More than one million women and men attended rallies campaigning for women’s right to work, vote, and hold public office and to end discrimination. In 1913 the date moved to March 8.

The International Women’s Day website launched in 2001, re-energizing the day. The website offers helpful resources and guidance and issues a theme for each year.

This year’s theme, Choose to Challenge, highlights personal responsibility and choice.

Choose to Challenge iwd
Choose to Challenge – 2021 theme for International Women’s Day

Choose to Challenge

“A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions, all day, every day.” IWD website

From challenge, comes change.

All of us, men and women, can choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. Together we can create an inclusive world.

And we can choose to celebrate women’s achievements and accomplishments.

That’s the focus of my post.

Choose to Challenge women's accomplishments
Choose to challenge…and to recognize women’s accomplishments

Celebrate Women’s Accomplishments

Today…and every day…it’s important to recognize women for the incredible contributions that they bring to the world even while we continue to strive for greater gender equality and opportunities.

Women are making a difference in so many areas of life including science, art, education, technology, music, medicine, sports, journalism, relationships, government and creativity.

I am choosing to feature women in four categories in this post: books, films, businesses and charities. And I challenge you to check out these remarkable women and share the accomplishments of women in other fields.

Choose to Challenge international
Choose to Challenge – recognize women for their contributions and achievements

Amazing Women Authors

I recognize the accomplishments of these female authors and heartily recommend their books:

Glennon Doyle – Untamed

In her powerful memoir, Glennon shares the joys and deep peace we find when we stop trying to live up to the expectations of others and start listening to the still voice within.

“There is a voice of longing inside each woman. We strive so mightily to be good: good partners, daughters, mothers, employees, and friends. We hope all this striving will make us feel alive. Instead, it leaves us feeling weary, stuck, overwhelmed, and underwhelmed. We look at our lives and wonder: Wasn’t it all supposed to be more beautiful than this? We quickly silence that question, telling ourselves to be grateful, hiding our discontent—even from ourselves.”

Click image to order book.

Amanda Gorman – The Hill We Climb

This gift edition book features Amanda’s memorable poem, read during the presidential inauguration. Amanda is the first ever national youth poet laureate of the United States and the youngest presidential inaugural poet in US history.

“For there is always light, if only we are brave enough to to see it, if only we are brave enough to be it.”

Click on photo to order book.

Inspiring Women Centric Films

Check out these inspiring movies about women in history:

Hidden Figures (2016)

The true story of a team of female African American mathematicians who played a key role in NASA during the early years of the US space program.

Click photo to rent Hidden Figures on Prime.

Suffragette (2015)

This drama tracks the working women in 1912 London who become foot soldiers in the early feminist movement, willing to lose everything in their fight for equality.

Click photo to rent Suffragette on Prime.

Women Run Businesses

These innovative women birthed companies that meet a need, especially for other women:

Tia Mowry – Anser

You may know Tia from the series Sister, Sister. Tia now runs Anser, a company that provides supplements for women. The supplements feature clean ingredients, essential vitamins and high quality nutrients that fuel the body. Her purpose for the company is to encourage and inspire women to be proactive about wellness.

Alina Morse – Zolli Candy

This amazing teen invented a candy that cleans teeth, providing moms with an alternative to sugary treats. Alina is the youngest INC 5000 CEO and also the youngest person to ever appear on the cover of Entrepreneur Magazine. Stores like Walmart and Amazon carry Alina’s candies. Her desire is to help mothers keep their families smiling and healthy.

Click photo to order zollipops.

Charities That Help Women

There are so many wonderful charities run by women to benefit women and children. Check out these two:

BlinkNow

BlinkNow operates a globally recognized children’s home and school in Nepal.

The mission: to change the world by empowering Nepal’s children. BlinkNow does this by providing quality education and a safe environment for children and women, and through inspiring others.

 

Womankind

Womankind is a mental health charity run by women, for women.

The mission: to work with survivors of gender-based violence, to rise above trauma and build a path to healing. They bring critical resources and deep cultural competency to help Asian communities find refuge, recovery, and renewal.

Choose to Challenge smiles
Choose to Challenge – helping women

How We As Women Help

I love the theme for International Women’s Day this year. Although I may wish it otherwise, challenges do help me grow and change. When I look back at the most challenging situations in my life, I see the massive growth that accompanied those times. And change happens as a result.

So what does it mean to choose to challenge?

We choose to use our voices, our words, our actions, our influence to challenge what we see happening in our communities. And we challenge ourselves to live as our most authentic selves. Because only as we live as those powerful versions of ourselves can we create change.

For me that’s releasing my inner wild woman this year. For you that might be tapping into your creative side or working through old fears or stepping outside your comfort zone. Finding your voice, speaking your truth and following your passionate heart are all ways of challenging yourself to live as the person you are created to be.

Strike a Pose

Show your support of women and the commitment to call out inequality by raising your hand high. Choose to challenge. Strike a pose and share your photo on social media. Use the hashtags #choosetochallenge and #IWD2021 to encourage others to help create an inclusive world.

It doesn’t just matter today. It matters everyday.

“Here’s to strong women. May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.”

Choose to Challenge all in
I’m all in. I choose to challenge.

One of my contributions for encouraging and supporting women:

Fix Her Crown Award

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

The Story Behind Little Golden Books

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

As one of my celebration activities, during the 63 Curious Things to Do for My 63rd Birthday, I drew this slip of paper: Write about a topic I’ve never written about before.

I had just boxed up children’s books in my home and delivered them to my daughter, for her baby girl, Finley. Delivering the books, I wondered, When did Little Golden Books come into existence? I remembered reading them as a child. And I read them to my children and grandchildren.

That question led to research and a blog topic I’ve never written about before.

Here’s the story behind Little Golden Books.

The Story Behind Little Golden Books title meme

The Beginning of Little Golden Books

When Little Golden Books first published, in 1942, high quality books for children were expensive, averaging $2 to $3 each. Most parents couldn’t afford such books. Little Golden Books changed that, launching 12 titles in their first series.

Sold in stores where people shopped weekly, and at an extremely reasonable 25 cents each, the books gained instant popularity. Hundreds of thousands of books sold, drawing the attention of talented writers such as Margaret Wise Brown, author of Goodnight Moon, and new author Richard Scarry. Millions of children developed a love for reading, thanks to these affordable books.

The first three titles published in 1942 included Three Little Kittens, The Little Red Hen and The Alphabet from A to Z. Each book featured brightly colored illustrations and a sturdy cardboard cover with a shiny, golden spine.

The Story Behind Little Golden Books red hen
The Story Behind Little Golden Books – The Little Red Hen

 

Little Golden Books Timeline

1940s

Just four months after their initial launch, most Little Golden Book titles are in their third printing. More than 1.5 million copies sell during that time.

In 1944, Disney publishes their first Little Golden Book, Through the Picture Frame.

1950s

In the 1950s the company celebrates its 10th anniversary with 183 million books sold. The cost is still 25 cents. Except for Russia, the books are available throughout the world.

1960s

Prices raise slightly in the 60s, to 29 cents. Due to the popularity of Saturday morning cartoons, titles include favorites such as The Flintstones, Huckleberry Hound and Tom and Jerry.

1970s

Sesame Street titles join Little Golden Books in the 1970s. And the first Barbie title is published in 1974. The price per book is now 59 cents.

1980s

In 1982, Little Golden Books celebrates its 40th anniversary, with more than 800 million books sold. Cost per book rises to 89 cents. On November 20, 1986, the one billionth Little Golden Book is printed. The Poky Little Puppy becomes the best selling children’s book of all time.

Click photo to order this title from Amazon.

2000s

By the 2000s, the company relaunches its most popular vintage books, due to consumer demand. Little Golden Books offers 1200 unique titles, priced at $2.99 each.

2010s

July 2013 sees the release of Star Wars Little Golden Books, with a Star Wars theme on the golden spines. Books are now $3.99 each. Random House publishes the New York Times bestseller, Everything I Need to Know, I Learned from a Little Golden Book, by Diane Muldrow.

Little Golden Books celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2017. There are 644 titles in print. Books sell for $4.99. The company continues to release new titles for today’s child. Penguin Random House is the current publisher.

A recent release, available from Amazon. Click photo to order.

A Childhood Tradition that Continues

I grew up reading Little Golden Books. My favorite titles were fairy tales and classics such as The Little Red Hen. When my family moved from Oklahoma to Missouri, in 1970, we sold our collection of books at a garage sale. Oh, how I wish I still had my childhood books!

My children grew up reading Little Golden Books as well. Their favorites included stories about animals, tie ins to television shows such Sesame Street and Pano the Train. I read The Boy with a Drum so many times that I memorized it. That book continued as an often requested read from my grandchildren. I can still quote most of the book from memory.

The Story Behind Little Golden Books vintage
The Story Behind Little Golden Books – these are vintage now and well worn from years of reading

A New Home for My Little Golden Books

With the birth of my newest granddaughter, Finley Grace, it felt like time for the collection of books to go to a new home. I boxed up the Little Golden Books along with Dr. Seuss classics and paperback favorites such as The Berenstain Bears series.

My daughter Adriel graciously accepted those books and gave them a new home in the baby’s nursery. I’m so thrilled that Adriel and her husband Nate read to Finley daily and indeed began reading to her while she was still in the womb. At almost three months old, she loves books already.

My oldest child, daughter Elissa, recently showed me the copy of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Little Golden Book that she had just purchased. I admired it and asked if the book was for Finley. “Oh no,” she told me. “This is my book.”

That’s my girl. And that’s the continuing power of Little Golden Books.

Do you have a favorite title?

The Story Behind Little Golden Books bookcase
The Story Behind Little Golden Books – a new home for the books

Check out more Little Golden Books 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.

 

 

 

Year of the Wild Woman

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

A fresh, new year brings with it fresh, new possibilities and opportunities. For me it also delivers a new theme or word, a symbol and a song. These components serve as guideposts for the upcoming year.

I adopted these practices many years ago. It took me several years to realize that the companions for the year long journey chose me, rather than the other way around. Knowing this deepens my appreciation for the incredible way that life works. And, looking back at my journey over the years, I can see the progression and growth that occurred, as captured by my words, symbols and songs.

This year, 2021, is the Year of the Wild Woman. I’m extremely excited about what will unfold during the next 12 months.

Year of the Wild Woman title meme

Year of the Wild Woman – the Words

I’m typically given one word for the year. However, this year there are two…Wild Woman.

This is how the words initially came to me. Working in my garden one summer day, literally down on the ground digging in the dirt as I planted flowers, a phrase popped into my mind.

“It’s time to release your inner wild, your wild woman.”

I sat back and considered those words. “Okay,” I thought, “how do I do that?”

And thus began a journey of exploring what it meant to BE a wild woman and how to release her. You see, my inner wild woman went underground a very long time ago.

Wild Thing

When I was a teen in high school, I used my own money to purchase a pair of jeans and a jean jacket. The back of the jacket featured a magnificent lion, and the words “Wild Thing”. On the jeans the word “wild” appeared on one back pocket while the word “thing” appeared on the other. I happily wore my new jeans and jacket to school…exactly one time.

I was made fun of all day. My male friends, and many boys who weren’t even remotely my friends, teased me about being a “wild thing” or made suggestive remarks. I went home and tossed the jacket into the back of my closet, never to wear it again. I ripped the back pockets off of the jeans and continued to wear them occasionally.

What I learned that day was that being a “wild thing” was not acceptable. Wildness equaled partying, loose sexuality and out of control behavior, none of which were true about me. Although I possessed an inner wildness, and an untamed, freedom loving spirit, I pushed those deep within and learned to accept domestication.

Definition of Wild Woman

As I’ve learned what it means to be a wild woman and how to unleash my inner wildness, two books have guided me. “Untamed” by Glennon Doyle and “Women Who Run With the Wolves” by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I’ll share more about both in upcoming posts. I love this definition of a wild woman by Clarissa:

“Within every woman there lives a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity and ageless knowing. She is the Wild Woman, who represents the instinctual nature of women.”

I recognize that the journey toward releasing my inner wild woman actually began about ten years ago. And I also recognize that it is indeed time to fully free mine. While I’ve known about her for a long time, I felt I wasn’t allowed to live freely as her. My growth in the last decade makes me feel that I can do that now.

In October of 2020, I suddenly realized I didn’t know my word for 2021. I asked, out loud, what my theme and/or word was. Then I laughed as the words “wild woman” popped into my head. Of course. The conversation with the Divine that began in a garden, which seems highly appropriate, concluded with these words: “Wild Woman…be who you are”. And that’s the best way I can describe what a wild woman is. She is someone who completely embraces who she is as her truest, most authentic self, and lives in that freedom.

Year of the Wild Woman shake
Year of the Wild Woman – shaking loose all that is not soul

Year of the Wild Woman – the Symbol

With the theme for 2021 established, I opened myself to possibilities for the symbol. The symbol is important to me. It connects strongly with my word or words, in this case, and it serves as spiritual taps on the shoulder as I journey through the year. When I see the symbol, it means I need to pay attention.

I considered the lioness as a possible symbol, or even the cheetah, which plays a role in Glennon’s book, “Untamed”. But no, those weren’t for me. “What about the tree?” I asked. I love trees and feel very connected to that symbol. “It’s the tree, right? How about a tree?” No tree for this year.

The symbol that came to me, through repetition and synchronicity, is the moon. The moon symbolizes feminine energy, receptivity, regeneration, intuition and mystery.

My legal name, Cynthia, is Greek for “moon goddess”. Moon goddess….wild woman…that’s perfect. As one of my 63 Curious Things to Do for My 63rd Birthday, I purchased a moon necklace. I’m excited to wear it this year.

As I have the last three years, I drew a representation of my year, using the wild woman and the moon elements. It rests on my bedside table, a daily reminder of who I am.

Year of the Wild Woman art
Year of the Wild Woman art.

Year of the Wild Woman – the Song

For a brief time I considered “Moon River” for my song for 2021. That song kept popping up, so much so that I even watched the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s again, which features it. I still love it and choose it as my secondary song.

When I seriously paid attention to what song chose me, I knew it was “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys.

This song means a lot to me. My granddaughter Aubrey introduced the song to me years ago, as a favorite of hers. I used to do tai chi to this song. Although it may seem like a strange song to perform tai chi to, it works beautifully for me.

The fire element pairs well with my moon symbol. Fires represents creativity, passion, rebirth, desire and purification. Energetically, the fire of creativity and the moon of receptivity play important roles in my life already. And when you are “on fire” you are excited, passionate and enthusiastic. Yes, make it so.

The Journey Continues

Although 2020 made me a bit cautious about new years and what they can bring, I’m excited and optimistic about 2021. I feel like this year promises a great deal of personal growth. Not everyone will understand or even like that growth, however freeing my inner Wild Woman is the invitation and my soul is responding.

My granddaughter Aubrey asked me recently what my word is for 2021. She’s known since her toddler days that a new one accompanies me every year. When I told her “Wild Woman”, her eyes widened a bit. Curious, I asked her what those words mean to her. Without missing a beat she replied, “Yaya in the backyard, naked.”

I laughed. She’s not wrong. However, what I love about Aubrey’s answer is this. She didn’t say that a wild woman is out of control or bad or wrong. Her honest answer suggests a woman who is experiencing untamed joy and passion. Naked represents uncovered and unashamed. It’s natural and connected to nature.

I think this girl, who exhibits her own inner wildness rather well, nailed it.

Join me during this Year of the Wild Woman. We can all learn and grow together.

Year of the Wild Woman Cindy

 

Wild Woman Finds on 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.