The Day You Woke Up

This is the day you woke up.  This is the day you realised you only have so many days left (even if it’s a lot, it’s still a finite number).  This is the day you decided the start living.

Today you realised your talent and passion and vision are too beautiful to take to the grave with you, and since you never know when you’re going to go — you better get that shit out there.  You looked around at what passes for good and what passes for great said ‘When did our standards get so low?’  You saw ‘just the way things are’ and said ‘When did I (and everyone else) agree to that?’

This is the day you looked anew at the distractions of commerce and consumerism and fear of what others think and you decided to release those hungers and instead feed your magnificent soul.  You saw yourself as what you’ve always wanted to be, not as distorted visions claimed you are.  You started loving every inch of yourself today and even if that’s a long journey, you remember this is the day you started, this was the turning point.

This is the day you gave up waiting for —

  • Permission
  • Prince Charming
  • Your Ship to Come In

Instead you swam out to sea, inspired a pirate crew to name you their captain, and took off to claim treasures and lagoons unnumbered.

This is the day you looked around and realised the best way to support those you love is to be who you were fucking born to be — a golden god or goddess of the old stories who people felt lucky to meet, feel lucky to have been born in the same lifetime as.  Today you leave behind, not fear, but reluctance.  You leave behind not humility, but worthlessness.  You leave behind not a desire to do perfect work, but a desire not to show anyone imperfect work.

This is the day hard work stopped scaring you.  You started thinking of hard work as just a heavy door.  You might have to push and push, but it’s moving in the right direction and EVERYTHING you want is right on the other side.  And some people might laugh at you as you push but you cannot conceive of how they can stand in front of the door to their dreams their whole life and never try to even give it a little nudge.  And then be inspired to give it a great big one.

This is the day you woke up.  If you’d already been following the path, today inspired you to run faster.  If you’d been afraid, today reminded you — your heroes had the same fears when they started.  If you’d been cruising along, assuming someday you’ll make the big effort and really start living your life, today said —

And finally this was the day a little voice whispered inside you and every day for the rest of your life you knew that —

THIS is that day.

 

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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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How to Reevaluate Your Life

from lifeinblush.com/blog

When you decide to reevaluate your life, remember: you are not looking for easy answers.  At this stage you are only trying to ask the right questions.

10 QUESTIONS

  1. What’s my dream life?  If you could have anything, no holds bared, what would you be doing, day in and day out?  It’s fine to have a big goal (climb Everest) but try to drill it down to a 24 hour picture.  Dream lives still involve many of the things you are already doing — so what’s different?  Imagine being excited to get to work — where do you work?  What does your house look like?  Who are you married to, if anyone?
  2. What do you want (do you really, really want)?  Dreams and fantasies are often funded by the unbelievable.  “I’d fly off to Paris in my private jet.”  “I’d be married to Tom Hiddleson.”  We think getting a great life is so impossible that we literally make it so; you might as well say you want to live on Jupiter and marry Errol Flynn — it’s as likely to happen.  So instead, take time to get to the heart of your dream — past the money and movie stars — and figure out what you really desire.  Maybe you’ve never been to Paris — but if you saved up all your ‘fast food’ money for two years you could do it (and be much healthier).  And maybe you long to meet intelligent, joyful people and have become discouraged by the potential romantic partners in your job or social circle.  Ask what makes your dream great.  Most times it’s not just having more money in your hand.
  3. What’s making you unhappy now?  Think about the last week or month — what were your most unhappy moments?   Who/where/what did they involve?  It’s hard to admit, but if you don’t come away happy from seeing someone, then that’s someone you need less of in your world.  Life is short, and unless you birthed them or adopted them, you don’t owe anyone your happiness upon this Earth.  We’ve all had friendships and relationships we’ve tried to ‘make’ work.  Well, today you found your get-out-of-jail-free card; I’m officially telling you it’s okay to let things that don’t work GO.  Believe me, you’ll be making room in your life for much better things.  If debt or your weight are making you unhappy then even a tiny step toward a better life will improve your mood.  And if your job is the problem, hang on . . .
  4. Do I hate my job?  I just saw a Pin that said something like ‘When asked what they would reevaluate after winning the lottery, 51% of people said ‘their job’.  Now, I don’t know if that’s true, but it feels right.  To me that also says that, in addition to not liking their job, most people are afraid to leave because of finances.  This is a tough one — we need money.  But how much of it?  Could you get by (and be happier) with less?  Instead of imaging winning the lottery — imagine you already have.  According to one estimate, the worldwide median household income is less than $10,000.  So if you’re household makes more than that, you are already living the high life.  So maybe a different job (even if it paid less) would be something to think about.  And know there are people out there who are paid well to do your dream job; the first step to joining them is acknowledging you’re unhappy where you are.
  5. Am I filling my life with ‘time-wasters’?  Everyone deserves ‘down time’, ‘fun time’, or a break but everything in moderation.  Playing video games can be amazing but 6 hours a day for five years may not lead to a fulfilling life — unless you’re a game designer.  The same way, the amount of human time spent on Facebook is astounding (and I can be as guilty as anyone, though more often it’s Pinerest for me).  Just try to imagine the world, the power, and the individual lives we could build with that excess time.
  6. Why am I sad?  You may not be sad, but if you are know that a few small changes can make life great again.  You don’t need to throw out everything, you just need to realign your life with your heart’s desire.  And if you have a problem that seems very hopeless — know that there’s probably a group, meeting, hotline, or program for people battling the same troubles as you.  Reach out and get help.
  7. What am I impatient about?  For me, it’s becoming a full-time writer and then traveling the world.  And I know I’ll get there.  But when progress feels slow, I wonder if I need to go get a college degree, move jobs, move cities, SOMETHING to prove I’m not stagnant and not going to be standing here in one place forever.  If this is you, and you are doing something that should have the payoff you’re looking for (a breakthrough in job, becoming your perfect weight through a diet) then I suggest you give yourself a place in the future to re-reevaluate that one goal and decide if these small steps aren’t adding up to something big.  For example, I’ve decided to write three new amazing things then look at whether I need a different day job, education, what-have-you.  Until I have those three novels or plays in front of me, I won’t worry about how long I’ve been at my day job while ‘planning’ to become a full time writer.
  8. What’s on my ‘bucket list’?  One of the things about this year is I’ve talked to some older people I know who never have done the items on their bucket list and now wonder if they’re too old.  While I’m a total believer in doing as much as you can as long as you can, it is easier to climb a mountain in your 30s or 40s than your 70s.  Whatever your age, part of the un-fulfillment you might be feeling is because the big things just sit on a distant horizon and never get any closer.  You need to pick a before-I-die goal, pick a date (even if it’s a year or two out) and start planning, saving, and/or training for it NOW.  Our lives are short and precious, leave nothing important undone.
  9. Why am I asking this question now?  You Google-searched for this question (or are just a fan or friend of mine) — why?  Are you fed up with the way things are going?  Have you been trying to make changes but still feel far from your goals?  The important thing is to feel empowered — this is a great moment.  As soon as you start really looking at your life, you may get depressed, scared, and feel hopelessness.  But the important thing to know is that this is an important first step that some people never take.  You are now officially on the road to your dreams.
  10. Am I ready to be bold?  There’s a saying, “Are you really happy or just really comfortable?”  You have come to this place by your choices; some parts of your life work great and some need to be switched or fixed.  But if you are at the point of knowing you need a change, then realize you really have nothing to lose.  Start by cleaning your house and giving some things away, then make that bucket list plan, then start seeing what parts of your life make you happy and what things need to go.  Envision your dream and walk toward it.

from periwinkleporte.files.wordpress.com

 

June 2015 update: Please visit my new site ‘How To Come Alive‘ if you’d like to learn the 25 things that have helped me most in achieving my dreams.

Oh 2014, What Can I Say About You?

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Now, all last year (2013 for those of you playing along at home) something was up.  I started to feel uncomfortable about some parts of my ‘day’ job and about some of my friends etc.  What had seemed fine for years was suddenly unbearable (at least, for a few bad days).  Then, it became a super-busy holiday season at work and everything else kind of fell away.

Everything, that is, except my big dreams for 2014.

Because 2013 had awoken me up, and made me realize that it was time for a change.

For so long stability was all I wanted.  After some rough personal years (2002-2005) that saw my parents divorce, my mom die and my sister and I have to do a BIG move/cleanse, things had just become peaceful and steady and stayed that way for years and years.  I’d honed my writing talents in pseudo-secret and just enjoyed life.

But now things were changing and 2013 asked the question —

Good question.

So then 2014 began, and it began with a rush of enthusiasm and goal-setting.  And that lasted all of four days.  Then the biggest cold snap in my lifetime in North Georgia happened, and while that doesn’t sound like much to you insulated city dwellers, it caused havoc for those of us with exposed water pipes.

Things burst.

Many things.

And unfortunately, the next three months became pipe problems, flu, pipe problems, flu, pipe–etc.

It’s been the hardest time for me personally since those tough years of the early 2000s.  And yet, even as it’s been happening I feel like there’s this energy and power to 2014, like it wants to be a year of great change.  And, while the changes have been time-consuming and challenging this year so far, I recognize and am grateful that each one is still small and not at all bad on the scale of life changes.  Nothing bad has happened to me; I just feel like a ship breaking free of its moorings.

So now the weather has warmed, flu season is passing, and the pipes are (almost) fixed.  Now what?

NOW WE KICK IT INTO FUCKING OVERDRIVE.

I’ve learned so many special things in these first few months, even as I felt like I was being drug backwards, and I can’t wait to share them with you all.

I’m going Paleo.

I’m thinking about breaking into TV writing (Reign here I come!).

I want to cycle 50 miles.

And I still want very much for this to be the most exciting and transformative year of my (and your) life.

Who’s with me?

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

Can enrolling in an imaginary academy change your life?

Actually a building in Cotswold, not Sumar Academy.

Ah Sumar Academy.  I’ve just arrived here two days ago and I’m already learning so much.  I’m a little home-sick and a little intemidated but mostly I’m excited.  People graduate from here to do GREAT things.

Oh, BTW, did I mention this place is totally only in my mind?

From classic English stories to more modern takes like Hogwarts, there’s a lot of appeal to the idea of packing up, leaving your old world behind you, and submitting yourself to a whole new world of challenges that a boarding school or academy offers.  So when I decided to change my life this year, I imagined myself at a wonderful place of high standards and higher learning.

Part of the goal here is to live my ideal life each day, so life at the school has rules that help me to do that.  Such as —

  • It’s always clean at Sumar Academy.
  • It’s an honor to be a pupil here so looking nice and acting with pride is required.
  • There’s daily yoga and exercise and we write every day.
  • There’s also teachers and classes for inspiration and ‘fun’ daily — those things must be pretty important.

So far I’m excited and the first session lasts two months.  If I like it (and they like me), I can sign up for the next session.  People who graduate here leave for amazing lives and I can’t wait to be one of them.  Did I mention they only serve Paleo food here — wild.

Oh, by the way, they mentioned your name and said you have what it takes.  Now this place is hard work, but if you join us you’ll be in the elite.  Of course, your head master or head mistress may be a little different than mine, but I’m sure they’ll challenge you and change you into something great — into the person you were always meant to be.

So, will you be coming to Sumar Academy in 2014?

Would You Join a Health Club if You Never Had to Leave Your Computer Chair?

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Then join us!  This next year, for FREE, you can be part of the rockingest, funnist health club in the universe.  Details below —

  • New year, new ideas. As much as I’ve enjoyed our real life ‘Come Alive’ meetings, I wanted to do something different for the new year. So, starting with December, we’ll have an ‘online only’ meetup that binds us and challenges us for that month. You can ‘attend’ in Jan., skip out on Feb., leap back in for March — ‘attend’ only what excites you (of course, we’ll still get together in Athens when people want to, we just won’t have a set schedule). This way, even when we’re busy, we can still be moving forward together in wonderful ways.

    DECEMBER CHALLENGE —
    Eat healthy this month and get enough rest. Give yourself the gift on feeling good.

    That way you’ll come into 2014 feeling great! There’s no ‘hard and fast’ rules; you’ve lived long enough to know what makes your body happy and healthy. And remember, the goal is progress, not perfection.
    Note: Comments section is where we can talk, share ideas, and cheer each other on — let’s get a dialogue started!

    All you need to do is join the free site Meetup.com, then join us at People Who Have Come Alive.  Here’s the link for the December Challenge.  Whatever you do, have a great 2014!

What I’ve Learn After 50 Blog Posts (Tips & Tricks)

from blog.pinkcakebox.com

TA DA!  (TWEET, TWEET!)  WE MADE IT!

Happy 50th post on this website.  I was kind of surprised that it sneaked up on me.  But I’ve learned a lot since March 2nd, 2013 and I want to share what I have learned with any would-be writers or bloggers —

10 Things I’ve Learned About Blogging

  1. Trust yourself.  People who are meant to find you will find you, so don’t waste time trying to be someone you’re not.  Always be yourself.  Unless you can be Batman, then always be Batman 😉
  2. ‘Tag’ your posts.  The world is wide and tags really help like-minded people find you.  And be open to tagging anything — in the beginning WordPress suggested ‘Mental Health’ for some of my inspiring blogs and that was a great idea I’d never thought of.  I also got a ‘re-blog’ link because I mentioned ‘The Simpsons’ once but I’d added a tag for it.
  3. Stick to a few topics.  Catherine Ryan Howard had that advice in her ‘Self-Printed’ book and it has worked well for me.  It also guarantees that people who like one post will probably like more down the line.
  4. Do your own thing but also find out the needs and desires of your audience.  I write mostly about how to live an inspirational life, writing, and self publishing.  But people really like the inspiring life bit (they like me even more, but that’s just coincidental 😉 ).  So I keep that need in mind and try to help people, even a tiny bit, on their journey toward their dreams.
  5. Post regularly.  If I had one tip, this would be it (along with be yourself, be interesting etc).  The keys to the kingdom.  Catherine Ryan Howard suggested three posts a week but for a long time I was ‘too busy’.  But when I got serious about posting more often (I aim for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) then people really started getting interested.  I did recently take a ‘birthday week break’ because, well, I’m only human (Skyrim!).
  6. Get great titles.  The number one thing I see when I look at blogs is a lack of inviting titles for posts.  Everything doesn’t have to be ‘How To Make A 10 Tips List To Drive Business’ but I see a lot called ‘Blah Blah, Dreary Day’.  And maybe that’s great and maybe it’s funny, and maybe it’s only meant to be cathartic, but I’m not that interested.  I saw one just called ‘L’ and the first line was ‘I guess this is really happening’, and I had to see the rest of that post.  I lot of times I’d pick a title, write the piece and find a better title in one of my lines, more original, more dramatic, and I’d use that.
  7. Pictures, Links, Ponies — whatever it takes.  People respond to great pictures and quotes (at least I do).  And links not only promote things you love (like my recent Frank Turner post) but they are also added valve/fun for your fans.
  8. If you can, proofread your ‘preview’ before you publish.  I have found seeing the post in its final form makes catching the error easier (warning: you will still find errors).
  9. If you Google something and can’t find the post you wanted — jump on that.  I was looking for a certain kind of list of ‘how to move to the next level as a writer’ for my Athens Writers Association meeting and I couldn’t find it!  So I wrote my own thing to bring to the group and it turned into a very successful post.
  10. Dream (and think) big.  Act successful to be successful.  I had no idea I’d have so many followers by my 50th post but I wasn’t put off when I had just one either.  I just sent my best, most professional work out into the world and hoped to find a few people who liked it.  Thank you all for being so kind as to be part of this wild ride with me.  Onward to 100!
The Amazing Austin Kleon

The Amazing Austin Kleon

49 Days (and ways) To Be Amazing By New Year’s

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  1. Spend half as much on Christmas this year
  2. Give twice as much to Charity
  3. Start that blog
  4. Get a ‘walking buddy’ and walk three times a week
  5. Make a party plan, and only go (and eat and drink) when you really want to
  6. Start your novel
  7. Write a love letter to yourself
  8. Go to a dance — and dance
  9. Find a new favorite song
  10. Plan to make 2014 amazing
  11. Picture who you want to be in 49 days (and make it happen!)
  12. Get on the Paleo diet
  13. Start Cycling
  14. Go on a blind date with the idea on finding a new best friend
  15. Do something nice for a stranger
  16. Visit your oldest relative
  17. Make a homemade gift
  18. Take a class
  19. Make a Christmas playlist that makes you want to dance all day long
  20. Make Christmas cookies with your best friend
  21. Write a love letter to your dream boy/girl (even if you haven’t met them yet)
  22. Invest in bath bubbles
  23. Buy a new comforter — super soft
  24. Volunteer
  25. Clean out your least favorite room — make it your favorite
  26. Write down one hundred people you are grateful for and tell them about it
  27. Make a ten year plan
  28. Make a five year plan
  29. Make a one year plan
  30. Don’t plan everything
  31. Pick three days between now and New Year’s to be ‘do nothing’ days — and have Ferris Bueller fun
  32. Watch a ‘Reign’ or ‘Blacklist’
  33. Buy a Frank Turner song
  34. Visit this Pinterest page
  35. Watch a TED talk
  36. Visit a state park
  37. Write a poem
  38. Buy a Christmas ornament that speaks to your craziest, awesomiest self
  39. Make your own Christmas cards out of memes
  40. Send Thanksgiving cards
  41. Become an adventurer
  42. Be kinder than necessary
  43. Spend a full day cleaning your house
  44. Smile more
  45. Give away everything you don’t love
  46. Stop apologizing
  47. Start to awe people
  48. Try a new genre of music
  49. Buy Lady Gaga’s song Christmas Tree

from ThinkGeek.com

Paleo Diet — I feel like I’ve fallen face-first into the Fountain of Youth

Now, I had never really heard of the Paleo Diet (and I don’t ever do ‘diets’ in the way most Americans think of them, BTW) until about a week ago.

My sister Sarah said she’d been reading great things about it online and we should try it.  And it’s changed my life in ONE WEEK.

At its heart Paleo is about taking us back to eating the things we have for almost all of our human history, the things our bodies was made to consume.  The idea is that, even as needs and population growth required us to become agriculturalists, our bodies have not changed.  Our systems simply aren’t made to perfectly digest grains, legumes, refined sugars, and dairy.  Man is the only creature on Earth that drinks milk after infancy.   It is about eating real, simple food, mostly from home, so don’t think you can eat ‘MacDonald’s ‘chicken nuggets’ all the time and get great results.  Read the websites and start walking or cycling too.

So I challenge you to just try it for the next seven days.  I was a total skeptic, but here’s what I’ve learned —

Ten Things Paleo Has Taught Me in One Week

  1. I’m never going back.  It’s a shock to say, but I feel like I’ve fallen face-first into the Fountain of Youth.  This is too good not to make it a permanent part of my life.
  2. I didn’t know I could have this much energy. I’m jumping, bopping, and skipping around like a five-year-old.
  3. When I don’t feel exhausted all the time, my mood is a lot better.  Tasks I usually hated (like cleaning the bathrooms where I work) can’t touch me now.
  4. It truly is a ‘natural’ high.  I feel buzzed all the time in the best way.
  5. I don’t really get hungry.  Because I’m eating eggs, meats, veggies, great smoothies, etc — I’m never starving myself or denying myself seconds.
  6. Eggs and meat can be good for you.  I was still thinking of old warnings but the new research shows that lean meat, cooked in a light way, is great for you.  Ditto eggs.  Research it for yourself.
  7. I feel like I’m going to make it to the life of my dreams.  Feeling this good makes everything seem possible.
  8. 12 mile cycle rides feel like nothing.  I really feel like I have as much energy at the end as at the beginning.
  9. I don’t love ‘junk food’.  I really use to think I did, but now, getting the nutrients I need, I start to look at that stuff less and less as food, and more as some sort of industrial waste — which, if you think about it, is kind of what corn syrup is.
  10. I need to keep being open-minded.  I really thought this was a bad, and possibly dangerous, idea.  I mean, we must eat grains for a reason right?  And I never thought of myself with any ‘allergies’ to wheat or dairy.  But this has truly been a transformative experience — and I’m only one week in!

If the Paleo diet sounds like a lot of change at once, do what I did (unintentionally): start with just removing 95%-100% of refined sugar from your diet.  That’s what I did two months ago and I’m sure it made the Paleo Diet easier.

You CAN have all the energy you dream of, and you can enjoy your bacon and eggs while you do it!  Now I’m off for a 15 mile cycle ride!