THE ‘WHAT THE HECK DO I DO NOW?’ LIST: HOW TO REEVALUATE YOUR LIFE — PART 2

This spring I wrote a post called How to Reevaluate Your Life.  It talked about asking the right questions when you know you want something different out of this brief, beautiful existence.  This is the next step, about answers.

Found on meetville.com

That quote scared me.  I have plans — but I always have plans.  And I’ve been talking about some of them for ten years or longer.  I don’t want to risk my life passing while I dreamed of a different existence I was too scared to even attempt.

 

Quotable Cards

Quotable Cards

Ah, fear.  Not fear-of-spiders fear (which is silly because spiders are awesome and eat things that bother you).  Instead, when your questions start to give you an idea of what you want, you’ll get afraid.  You may even get hostile.  You may look for people to blame, reasons it’s too late, or you may re-reevaluate your life and say ‘Hey, this isn’t so bad,’ (hint: If you find yourself saying this — Yes.  It.  Is.)

So, after you start to get an idea of what you like, and don’t like, about your current life — what the heck do you do now?  I’m glad you asked.

THE ‘WHAT THE HECK DO I DO NOW?’ LIST:

  1. Take a ‘Reevaluation Vacation’.  Back in May of 2014, I really felt stuck and wondered if I hated my long term job in retail.  Then I decided take an 8 day vacation (the length was based on hearing that it took 8 – 14 days for your body to really rest and recuperate away from work).  So I stayed home and did every day whatever sounded most enjoyable, not really ‘movie marathons’ but things like walks and yoga and writing (and making collages!).  The point wasn’t just to party but to give myself time away from the hustle-bustle (I tried not to leave the house except for park walks).  You might not be able to do as I did, but even a long weekend (or having someone watch your kids for a couple of days) can be very clarifying.  For me, I realized I didn’t hate my job I just needed to be doing more of the things I loved.
  2. Plan the Plan-y Plan.  All talk and no action will get you nowhere but… It’s an important first step.  Still, like the awesome Larry Winget says, you already know what you need to do.  You’ve probably known for years what you need to do.  So, now you’re going to do it.  That’s it.  That’s the plan.  It’s as simple as imagining your perfect life (not a vacation or the day you meet Oprah, just a regular day in your extraordinary life), then realizing what would need to happen to get there (healthier weight, advanced degree) and distill it down to something you can do every week and every day to reach that goal.  You don’t have to know every step, just the first step.
  3. Do it with love or not at all.  Presumably, you’re reevaluating your life because you’re tired of living a compromised existence, full of activities you hate and things you’d rather not be doing. SO STOP.  Really.  The life you are supposed to be living, the life you’ll excel at, is doing what you love.  All.  The.  Time.  Don’t believe me?  Just try to be deliriously happy and not change the world for the better.  Betcha can’t do it.  When you’re trying to figure out what your life should be like, follow what makes you smile, what makes you excited.  Now, in the long term, I’m not talking about pizza and Netflix.  I’m talking about the little kid inside you, and what gets them excited, makes them want to leap off the couch, plastic sword in hand, yelling “Yay!’ at the top of their lungs.  Because starting right now, you’re closing the door on the mediocre part of your life; you’re through compromising.
  4. Only spend time on goals that are of Soul-Level importance to you.   Really.  The big stuff.  Not the things you think you should be doing, or will impress other people.  Your goals should be change the world / change your life forever achievements.  This doesn’t mean you have to be selfless — I want to be in my perfect body for me (and to inspire others to live healthier lives).  Writing my novels is completely selfish (and could create works that others will enjoy as much as I do).  Even my goal of keeping the house cleaner is no small thing (sometimes we have squirrels) because I want to honor my sister and create a place worthy of both of our artistic dreams.  Any goal can have meaning, but its only chance of success is if it has deep meaning for you.
  5. Ask yourself if this is the defining moment of your life.  My sister and visionary, Sarah Cerulean, often talks about ‘The story of your life’.  If you were reading or watching a bio of how you achieved all your dreams and came to lead such an inspiring life, what steps would have brought you there?  Assuming the outcome is amazing-great-spectacular, when did things start getting exciting?  Could you trace it back to these days, this time when you said ‘I deserve more’ and starting working hard for it?  The truth is, the clock is running — if you’re ready, you can make your life as great as your fantasies, but if you back away now, you may just let some of those dreams slip away forever.  Scary but true.  And the vision I have for the rest of my life (and yours) is way too grand and exciting to turn away from now.  THIS IS YOUR MOMENT.  You have been training your whole life for this leap, for this proof of your awesomeness.  Keep going.  You’ll make it.
Created by me!

Created by Katherine Cerulean

 

 

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Make a Break For the Light

Jim Kroft’s wonderful new song, Make a Break For the Light (watch it here!) came along at a perfect time because I’ve been thinking about how this is the time for big action, and fearless living.  And I hope you are feeling that same energy.

Green August #19 by rocketrictic on Flickr

Green August #19 by rocketrictic on Flickr

We have a world full of choice and, for a lot of us in OECD countries, more comfort, ease, and food than any other population in history.  We are living longer and can connect to the entire world through the internet.  The world is truly our oyster.

And yet.

In my highly unscientific sampling (mostly just overheard conversations of my retail coworkers) we don’t really know what to do with all this freedom.  In fact, we don’t feel free at all.  We think we are trapped — by lack of opportunity, by exhaustion, by a few broken dreams and bad choices.

Sound familiar?  Me too.

Found on a-thousand-words.tumblr.com

Found on a-thousand-words.tumblr.com

But come on — FUCK THAT.  You are beautiful, amazing, one-of-a-kind and gifted with amazing talents the rest of us need so desperately to have shared with us.  So what if we’re living in a crazy time where we kids have been left at home alone and gorged ourselves on cookies and ice cream, and watched 10 scary movies in a row and are now scared and sick and unsatisfied with our choices?  So what?  If we’re free to make mistakes, we also have the freedom to make our lives awesome.

I have a pretty big, exciting project developing (born of an insane, important realization) that I’ll talk about more later, but it’s going to be my first step in this brave new idea.  The idea that the world is too big and beautiful and full of possibility for any of us to lead unsatisfying lives for any reason — and the most bullshit reason of all is fear.  I don’t blame you for feeling afraid, but you should know —

Nike

Nike

Now I know a lot of people have amazing challenges — and I salute you for your struggles, your daily victories, your grace in defeat.  For some of you, your gift to the world may just be that shared your presence with us for another day.  I know not everyone can do every thing.  But everyone can do something — for themselves, for their loved ones, for even one other person on this beautiful little blue globe.  A musician in Germany uploads a magnificent song.  I share it with a beautiful friend in New York.  He responds back with amazing, kind words.

Every little action can change the world, even if that change is just that it makes someone’s day.

Thank you Jim Kroft.

Thank you Derek James Healey.

Now, let’s all go make the world a little more awesome today.

 

How I got Healthier (and You Can Too)

My friend Jill Hartmann-Roberts recently asked me for some info about the health and fitness things I’ve been excited about in the past couple of years and I thought, ‘Why not share this info with all of you?’

First of all, know that whatever health, body, mental or other challenges you’re facing, I completely believe good food, exercise, and giving yourself peaceful, quiet time can improve your life.  Some people have problems that keep them from the activities mentioned here, but most of us (thankfully) don’t — and even if you do, there is probably something, even just looking out a window, that could improve the quality of your life.  As always, you may want to talk to your doctor before making any of these big changes (he’d probably love to hear some good news).

Tiny bit of backstory — I grew up loving fried foods, sweets, and thought I was a ‘meat & potatoes’ girl.  I was also significantly heavier than I am now.  This change did not come all at once but by slowly starting to add in more and more good habits over the years.  So start small but be excited that your happiest, healthiest body may still be ahead of you.  My dad’s 59 and he just spent 8 and 1/2 hours kayaking on a river — you may say he has good genes but he also eats the healthiest and exercises more than anyone I know.  Where do you want your body to be at 59?

So, here’s what I’ve been doing in the last couple of years to take my body to the next level (this may be a little advanced for some people so remember that even half measures will get you going in the right direction) —

Cutting Back on Sugar

These days, I don’t really keep anything with refined sugar in the house.  When I want to make an exception (like a shake), I have to go out and buy it.  I’ve really been working to replace my desire for refined sugars with natural sugars like fruits, fruit juice, date-related products, and sometimes coconut sugar (Trader Joes has it and it’s pretty good in coffee).  Read my full post about sugar here.  Most of this new focus came about last year when my sister watched Sugar is a Toxin, a talk by Dr. Robert Lustig that changed the way we think about sugar’s place in our lives.

Now, I love sweets, and I’ll allow myself at least one hard-core exception a week (chocolate torte anyone?) but I want to remove the daily need for sugar from my life.  And doing that is also one of the best ways to avoid joining the heartbreakingly large number of diabetics in this country.  The amount of sugar we’re encouraged to eat everyday is f-ed up and we need take the power back into our own hands and live more like our grandparents did — when sweets were a rare treat.  Also read — Food Rules.  It’s wonderful.

Walking & Cycling

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think walking is a fantastic way to get healthier.  Try to get out for thirty minutes and least five times a week.

But cycling, now there’s the gold mine.  If you’re able physically to cycle, even just a little ways, you can find relaxation, joy, and a great, fast way to lose weight and get in shape.  As my sister has said, ‘You don’t see any fat cyclists’ (or at least, not for long).

But if you can’t/don’t like to go cycling, remember the important thing is to just do some exercise you do enjoy more.  It needs to be done often, and be fun and challenging to whatever level you’re at now — but never hurt yourself.

Juicing & Fasting

Juicing is a great way to get a lot of vitamins fast and can give your body a break from the hard work of digesting food (yes, your intestines would like a vacation too).  The film Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead really turned my sister and I on to the power of juicing — you can change your body in ways you’d never believe and it’s never too late to get better.  Whether it’s just a breakfast replacement or a longer ‘juice fast’, it can change your relationship to food forever.  A juicer costs around a hundred dollars but you can buy used ones (or get a friend to loan you one to try it) — and either way, the cost is probably less than one month of the blood pressure pills you may have to take down the road if you don’t get healthier.

A word about fasting: done right it’s not dangerous, unhealthy, or harmful.  Fasting has been a religious practise for thousand of years.  Fasting can mean a ‘full fast’ where you might drink only water or consume nothing at all (best done for a short while [like a day] and on a day you’re off work and can lie down and rest often).  It can also be a ‘partial fast’ where you might still drink water, juice, and even eat a few fruits and veggies.  Sarah and I have done a 14 day partial fast and I’d love to do it again.  Just remember that you will probably ‘detox’ somewhere around day two and have a headache for a couple of hours.  This is natural and healthy and afterward you won’t have that happen again for the rest of your fast.

It’s also important to ‘break’ the fast at the end of the time and slowly start eating good foods again.  Remember: you are not dieting or starving yourself, you are giving your body a break for a specific amount of time.  Richard Hittleman’s Weight Control Through Yoga contains instructions for the first fast I ever did.

Paleo

My friend Jill said she’d heard me mention this but didn’t really know anything about it.  I was exactly in that spot last September but I believe Paleo is one of the reasons I’m on track to be my healthiest ever by the end of this year.

In a nutshell, the Paleo (or paleolithic) diet is a return to what people ate for our entire history up until we discovered agriculture.  From an evolutionary point of view, our bodies haven’t begun to integrate things like wheat, legumes (like peanuts) and dairy into our diet, which is why some people have allergies and others may still (unknowingly) have their bodies fighting against minor negative reactions their wholes lives.  And fast food and refined sugars are even harder for our bodies to use to keep us healthy.  Exercise is also a major component of being Paleo.

To help you get more started —

The Beginner’s Guide to the Paleo Diet

Mark’s Daily Apple

A ‘Is it Paleo?’ Chart

Ultimate Paleo Guide

And a basic rundown —

fourbarrelcrossfit.com

And I wouldn’t get too caught up in buying only grass-fed beef — I started with regular.  Also, almost every veggie’s good — excluding regular potatoes (sweet potatoes are good for you).

That about sums up my recent adventures in health.  I feel better than I ever have, am improving all the time, and can’t wait to see what I’ll be doing when I’m 59!  Take care of your body and you’ll free your spirit up for some amazing adventures.

Best Wishes.

Your Lifetime Goals — What’s on Your List?

“I’m goin’, that’s all there is to it! I’m freaking goin’ . . .” (Scotland)

Two weeks ago I got inspired and made a Pinterest board of my 101 lifetime goals (I don’t care much for the term ‘bucket list’).  See my complete list here.  At first, I was going to keep my list a ‘secret’ board, so no one else could see it (I was afraid some of my writing goals might sound egotistical or shallow).  But then I thought, ‘Hey!  Maybe we don’t talk about the big things enough and if even one person is inspired, it’s worth a little teasing (No, I don’t have to marry Joseph Gordon-Levitt — he may be just a placeholder(!).

The interesting thing about this exercise (which I got out of Jack Canfield’s wonderful book The Success Principles) is that it makes you think about the rest of your life.  Really.  However old you are now, however long you think you’ll live, there is a finite amount of time left.  According to one Death Clock, I have 54 years left.  Now, that’s a long time — but it will pass fast.

And to me it’s not even about some sort of ‘seize the day/savor the moment’ creedos.  It’s about the kind of person who would be doing all the things on this list.  They would be fit, and ready for adventure.  They would make time (and save money) for the big things.  They would say ‘YES!’ to the unknown void of awesome.

You never know one of your lifetime goals is to take Peyote until you make the list

These goals also remind you to get going.  I’ve now made a list of 20 of those goals that can be achieved in the next couple of years.  Visiting every continent?  Might take a while.  But eating at Cinco y Diez (an upscale local restaurant), cycling 50 miles in a day, and going ziplining are quite doable (you’ll have to trust me about the cycling one 😉

So I encourage you to make your own list, board, collage or whatever inspires you.  Then pick a couple of goals and start taking the steps to complete them by the end of 2015 (or 2014 if you’re feeling feisty).  According to Pinterest co-founder Evan Sharp, “Our mission is twofold.  The first half is to help people discover the things that they love.  The second half is to enable people to go out and act on those things, to make them actually part of their life.” (Wired, Aug. 2014)

That’s what you want to do with your list: discover what you want to do with the rest of your life and then go do it.  

For myself?  I’ll be celebrating my birthday this year at Cinco y Diez and coming home to cross a life goal off the list.

 

And Now Introducing… The Point System!

I didn’t want to tell you guys about this till it’d been working for a while, but my sister Sarah and I have been having so much fun with this point system we invented over a month ago and so I wanted to share it with you because it could help make your life even awesomer.  I have never been quite as productive as I have this last month — it’s insane.  So, without further ado —

What is the point system?

It’s a reward system where you earn gold coins and blue coins (i.e.points) for doing positive things that are moving you toward your dreams.  Then you can use your coins to ‘buy’ treats and things you want.  It part of the gamification of life — i.e. to make ordinary tasks as fun, rewarding, and addictive as video games do with their lights, sounds and, well, coins of achievement.

How does it work?

First you decide what type of things you want to be doing daily to get to your perfect, dream life.  For me it’s exercising, keeping the house clean, and most especially writing.  So when I write for thirty minutes, I get one gold coin and one blue coin.  Cycling two miles also gets me one coin of each color (I tend to call such things earning a coin, but as you’ll see different colors have different uses and every activity offers one coin of each color).

And if I have a ‘perfect day’ in which I do all the coin-earning activities that I have written down, I get an extra coin!  Yowza!

What do these coins do?

Well, gold coins are for food treats like dining out or getting a shake, or even buying a carton of ice cream to take home.  That’s right, my base is no sweets and no eating out.  BUT you don’t have to go all out like that.  Even saying you’re earning your Big Mac by taking a walk around your block would still be a great thing.  You decide your point system — just know, if you want it — you gonna have to earn it.

Blue coins buy you non-food related goodies — albums, movie tickets, fun clothes or jewelry.  That’s right, I don’t get those things unless I earn them.  The flip side, if you earn it, you don’t feel guilty about buying it.

So, how’s it been working out?

Fantastically.  It means that just doing simple, good things like cleaning the house or doing yoga (things I didn’t do every day) suddenly are reward situations.  I’m earning points right now sitting here writing to you!  It’s limited the amount of indulgences while increasing the activities that will lead to the life of my dreams.  We all know steps that would get us where we want to go; this helps us follow the path AND feel rewarded instead of deprived when it comes to treats and snacks.

Here’s how you do it —

  1. Figure out your dream life.  Are you fit and healthy?  Is the house clean?  Are you closer to your family members?  Have you written a novel?  Imagine an average day in your perfect life.
  2. Break your dream life down into daily steps.  Want to be healthier?  Take a daily walk.  Have a dream job?  Improve yourself in 30 minute stretches to own that role.  Want to write a book?  Write every day.
  3. Choose four or five areas of improvement.  Mine are writing more, exercise, yoga, and cleanliness.
  4. Choose five or six (or more) activities that can earn you points.  I wouldn’t make these denials (i.e. no sugar before 12:00pm).  Instead make them as positive, enjoyable, and fun as possible (after all, you are replicating a day in your perfect life, so if you love cycling but hate calisthenics — cycle!)  The idea is to enjoy this stuff as much as possible.
  5. Decide what activities you need to do to earn a ‘perfect day’ bonus point (it’s a powerful motivation if you’re close to getting that extra point).
  6. (Optional) Decide if anything loses you a point.  I only mention this because I’m a little sporadic about brushing my teeth as often as is optimal, so I made a rule that if I fall down on my teeth brushing regimen, that day I lose a point.  After you’ve cycled two miles to earn a point, believe me, you won’t want to lose it.  So these are some shiny teeth.  If you chose to do this, I’d make it about a tiny activity that take no more than five minutes out of your day.
  7. Decide how many coins you earn for each activity and how much treats cost you.  This is a matter of trial and error — you want to feel like you get treats pretty often if you’re really hitting it.  If it take too long to earn anything, you’ll lose heart and if it’s too easy you might not push yourself at all — play around with it and see what gets you the best results.
  8. Buy a whiteboard and a dry erase marker.  Write your name at the top and then ‘Gold Coins:’ and below that ‘Blue Coins:’.  Update it each day.  You can also keep a lifetime total if you want to.

Some notes: You can call it one coin or 100,000 coins if that motivates you more.  It’s only an imaginary unit of measurement.  Also, I did let myself go ‘into debt’ a couple of times if something big came up and I didn’t have the coin right then to buy it.  Just make your whiteboard say something like ‘Gold Coins: -25’  and then work your way back to a positive number.

I can’t begin to say how much I’m enjoying this.  There may be a lot of reasons I’m so productive right now (it’s ‘Go Big or Go Home’ time) but I don’t know how I’d make it without the point system right now — it’s that important to my progress.

Best of luck!  Let me know if you have any questions, and tell me about your successes!

Remember: If you earn it, the cake is not a lie.

Katherine’s points (for reference):

Do Richard Hittleman’s 30 minute yoga program — 1 coin (actually one of each color, by I call it one)

Write for 30 minutes — 1 coin

Go cycling — 1 coin for each 2 mile stretch

Clean the house (one load of dishes and ‘pick up’ around house) — one coin

‘Just Dance’ video game done on ‘just sweat’ medium program (10 minutes of dancing) — one coin

Go for a hike/walk — one coin for each mile walked

My perfect day (earns a bonus point):

At least two hours of writing

Yoga

Cleaning

At least one form of exercise

Some treats (and their cost for me):

 Gold coins —

32 oz soda — 5 coins

Candy bar — 5 coins

Shake, Starbucks, or Smoothie Planet drink — 10 coins

Carton of Ice cream, package of cookies — 15 coins

Eating at Mcdonalds, Wendys etc — 10 coins

Eating at a nice sit down restaurant — 20 coins

 Blue coins —

one MP3 song — 5 coin

one album — 20 coins

Movie ticket — 25 coins

DVD — 20 coins

Other items: 2x — 3x coins to each $1 spent

 

Remember: This is a game!  Play around with it and find what motivates you.

Awesome Day #8 — What I learned

I'm so cute -- Taken on day #5

Taken on day #5

Today is the last day of my 8 day ‘stay-cation’.  It’s been one of the best times in a long time and I’ve learned much I’ll need for the journey ahead.  I’m planning to take what I learned and apply it to my everyday life.  So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, unsure, or just tired, here’s my insights —

Lessons for Living An Amazing Life

(all field-tested during my ‘stay-cation’)

  1. Get enough rest.  Sleep or just lying around.  I think we push ourselves too much, and never give ourselves a break i.e. I’m telling you to go take a nap now 🙂
  2. Do yoga.  I made time every day and feel so mobile and blissed out by the end of my 8 days.
  3. Exercise more.  It’s not contrary to rule #1 — they are Yin to the other’s Yang.  I’ve been dancing and walking and cycling and feel better than I have in months.
  4. Clean your house.  Strangely, making your home nicer and getting rid of old stuff really does make everything feel lighter and more free.  You’ll be amazed.
  5. Say no to more events with people.  I was trying to only leave the house twice this week.  I didn’t quite hit that goal but it made me realise I should say no more often.
  6. Don’t zone out of your own life.  When tired, TV, movies, games, and the internet can seem like mindless fun.  But everything in moderation — I stayed away from ‘wasting time’ this week and I had a LOT of time to do other things.  And get out in nature and away from the electronics.
  7. Love yourself more.  If you get in an unhappy place, it easy to blame yourself.  And while it’s important to know you have the power to change every situation in some way, also give yourself credit for how awesome every part of you is already.  There has never been and will never be anyone like you.
  8. Stop worrying what people think.  For a ‘people pleaser’ like me, I realised that just being away from stressful situations made me so happy.  Now, I can’t change all the situations but now that I know, I can try not to let them affect me as much.
  9. Stop eating fast food.  This should be #1 really.  Just being away from town, at home with good food, made an amazing difference.  And without the stress, I didn’t really want sugar that much.  So I am medicating myself in stressful situations with sweets — that’s got to change.
  10. Play and create as often as possible.  Letting the silly, child-like side back out and just plain old having fun cannot be overrated.  There’s a saying —a2c670b5873d5f81ed470c1d93d0b754

But really, it’s not the growing up that does you in, it’s forgetting what you were growing toward.  This life is yours, not your spouse’s, not your boss’s — yours.  Remember who are really are and act accordingly.  And if you ever forget, go get lost for a few days.  You may (re)discover more than you ever knew you possessed.

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Awesome Day #4 — Out With the Junk

This is not junk.  This is an inspiration wall -- it's important to learn the difference.  This is for my 'Spark of Madness' novel.

This is not junk. This is an inspiration wall — it’s important to learn the difference. For my ‘Spark of Madness’ novel.

Yesterday was day #4 of my 8 day ‘stay-cation’.  Really, I have already got everything I was looking for out of this break.  Yesterday I did some big cleaning (I’m working to get rid of a lot of junk) and a little yard work, but mostly I had revelations (what do you do on your vacation?).

One of the most interesting is how much of ‘out there’ I don’t need.  Except for one movie (X-men!) and one lunch in town (Dapalmas!), I have stayed home (excluding park walks since that’s right by my house).  And I love it!  I’ve often thought that I could be trapped on my property for a year and be truly happy — provided there was food (and park walks).  And now I know it.

Oh sure, I enjoy seeing my writing buddies and the occasional movie, but so much of ‘out there’ only exists to tranquilize you from the effects of out there.

Another thing about out there is people.  I think of myself as pretty friendly even though I’m an introvert, but I do now recognise that I worry too much about upsetting other people and try to fix unhappy situations that aren’t my fault.  Now, that’s a nice idea, but it shouldn’t send me back home stressed out and with an ice cream in my hand.  Actually, my stomach has knotted up a little thinking about it.  But now that I know, I can work to avoid those triggers.

I wonder how many of our food dependences, multitude of health problems, and just feeling sometimes hopeless all boils down to not getting to sit still long enough, in peace, on a front step, staring at the trees.  And I know a lot of people don’t have that step, or haven’t discovered that peace yet inside them, but it’s there — and there’s parks and so many adventures waiting for us while we’re waiting in line at the drive thru.

If you ever lose your way, just know all it takes is a few days of perfect peace to find it.  Just get away from all that — and you might find the key to what you’ve been searching for all along.

8 Days of Awesome

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Today marks the first day of my ‘staycation’.  The last time I had one was about 6 or 7 years ago and it was one of the highlights of my life.  This one is even more important.

2014 is THE year of breakthrough and change for me.  It’s time to retire the gentle draft horse mentality that carried me through the years since my dad divorced my mom and my mom died.  It’s time to re-claim the wild stallion energy that use to roam the plains of my youth.  I do nothing just to get by; I seek adventure.

This week (+1 day) is about rest, recovery, and rediscovering the spark of who I am and what I’m doing with the rest of my life.  I’ll keep you guys updated each day.

Now to gallop toward the horizon!

Who’s Inspiring You Right Now?

As I get excited about 2014 and living the life of my dreams I was thinking about the quote —

And that got me thinking, which five people in my life are doing what I want to do more of?  i.e. who’s inspiring you right now?

So, without further ado, here are the five people who are doing what I want to be doing (since these are people from my own life that most of you don’t know, and since I don’t know how they’d feel about being the subject of a blog — I have made them into archetypes for us).

THE ARTIST

This person inspires me by living the artistic life every day.  He’s a writer who’s sharing himself online and by reading, teaching, etc around town.  He’s doing more and more work, and getting better and better all the time.  The world at large hasn’t caught onto his brilliance yet, but he has, and he’s happy to follow his words into places (and genres) he’s never been to before.  I don’t know what his day-to-day life is like, but he makes you believe in the dream of writing in cafes and small apartments, soaking in the cities and breathing out genius.

THE ENTREPRENEUR

 

 This woman has transformed a rocky past into a rock-solid future, and found obvious peace, joy, and prosperity along the way.  She’s very successful, has three businesses, and a staff that loves her.  She’s selling well without selling out.  But the thing that really sticks in my mind is when a similarly middle-aged woman told her about a ‘fantasy’ dream life and business.  The Entrepreneur told her it was possible and told her a few first steps she could take.  But the other person laughed and put it back in the ‘fantasy’ box where her dreams likely would stay.  But the Entrepreneur is a person who’s pulled their dreams into the open and done the hard work (but oh so worth it) of making them come true.

 THE HERO

This woman has had some hard knocks; her body and her brain chemistry would be a challenge for any of us.  But she continues to fight, look for answers, improve herself, and vanquish her fears.  And she does all that while being one of the kindest, sweetest, and best people I know.  Whatever size problem I’m dealing with, I try to remember to tackle it with the cheer and grace this woman brings to every day of her life.

THE HARD WORKER

This man recently got the ‘dream job’ handed to him on a silver platter.  Lots of money, living in a big, exciting city, and getting to do what he loves every day.  I guess some people are just lucky, huh?  Wait a minute though — this guy also makes plans and goals all the time, spent his own money (and time) to better himself, and spent years before this ‘breakthrough’ honing his talents and turning himself into a dream hire for the company of his dreams.  Then he applied, risked rejection, and flew himself out there for interviews.  Oh, and all that money?  He was willing to ask for a little more and they happily gave it to him.  And yes, among the many things he’s taught himself, one was how to negotiate.

 THE STAR CREATURE

This woman doesn’t belong to this Earth, and I mean that in the best way possible.  She doesn’t connect to much of the rabble of our modern world but instead she’s inspired by the greatest artists in history, the most profound thinkers, the most beautiful moments of nature.  Life may overwhelm her senses, but only because she sees everything, feels everything.  And believe me, when you see everything, you miss nothing.  And when you miss nothing, you become a hell of a creative force.

So, that’s mine.  Now tell me, who’s inspiring you?  And what are you going to do about it today?

How to Make February the New January

“Get your hero up a tree, throw stones at him, then get him down.” — old saying in playwriting

So, a month ago, I was real excited.  And then what happened?  Life.

Those who know me know I haven’t been myself lately.  I have been quiet and tired.  Since January, my sister and I have had pipes burst, the well’s power shut down, a longer run of low temperatures here in Georgia than I can remember in my lifetime, snow, no indoor water, and the top third of a dead tree fall to the ground 30 feet from us — which was funny (especially since we were on our way to fix the well) but it was really close too.

None of that matters.  Or more precisely, none of that’s slowing us down.  It’s February now, time for us to re-find those 2014 goals and enthusiasm and I challenge you to do the same thing.  This is going to be the most frekin’ exciting year yet of our lives and that all begins by picking back up those goals, dusting them off, and saying —

We OWN this year.  Let’s prove it.

My 2014 goals —

  1. Cycle 50 miles in one day
  2. Publish my novel ‘A Caged Heart Still Beats’
  3. Publish my novel ‘Fall Street’
  4. Be in the best shape of my life (hard not to be with goal #1 😉
  5. Go Paleo for two solid months
  6. Write something new that is the best thing I’ve ever written
  7. Do yoga every day of the year starting now
  8. Make my home the most inspiring it’s ever been
  9. Do 12 adventurous things I’ve never done
  10. Get rid of 1/3 of my possessions