Tag Archives: growth

big magic

2 Nov

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I just finished reading “Big Magic : Creative Living Beyond Fear” by Elizabeth Gilbert for my book club. I’ve been a fan of Gilbert’s work ever since I read “Eat, Pray, Love”- a book that people either seem to love or hate. I personally loved it. I remember devouring it in a few short days and being consumed with her journey. Considering I am also a travel nut I enjoyed reading about Italy, India & Indonesia. That book planted a seed in me to one day visit Bali and the famous medicine man Ketut, who she receives a reading when in Bali and I did both last year on our honeymoon. I was feeling very connected to the lovely Elizabeth Gilbert in that moment!

“Big Magic” is a guide of sorts on how to live a creative life. That doesn’t mean just writing (although Elizabeth does talk a lot about writing because it happens to be her creative passion) but encompasses something larger: instead exploring any activity that takes you out of yourself and opens you to the experience of wonder and joy. This could mean weaving, drawing, dancing, it could mean running a farm, tap dancing, learning a new lanugaue…the options are endless!

I have been seeking inspiration recently so this book spoke to me. It made me think about the times in my life that I have been most fulfilled and it is most definitely when I feel creatively alive. I think back to when I started this blog- I was in a funk at the time and instinctively knew that to break free from its hold, I had to create, write, explore & learn. I had to get back in touch with the part of myself that comes alive when I am living a creative and inspired existence. That year I learned how to cook, I learned how to tango, I drove across the country taking photos and writing. All these activities brought me such profound joy and isn’t that the point of living? Why don’t we give our creative pursuits more energy?

This book reminded me that it’s ok to spend an afternoon painting for no other reason than it feels good and makes you happy…and that is a life worth living in my opinion.

Here are a few of my favorite lines from the book…

“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”

“Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest.”

“So this, I believe, is the central question upon which all creative living hinges: Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”

“creative entitlement simply means believing that you are allowed to be here, and that—merely by being here—you are allowed to have a voice and a vision of your own.”

“But to yell at your creativity, saying, “You must earn money for me!” is sort of like yelling at a cat; it has no idea what you’re talking about, and all you’re doing is scaring it away, because you’re making really loud noises and your face looks weird when you do that.”

“The essential ingredients for creativity remain exactly the same for everybody: courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust—and those elements are universally accessible. Which does not mean that creative living is always easy; it merely means that creative living is always possible.”

“Your fear will always be triggered by your creativity, because creativity asks you to enter into realms of uncertain outcome, and fear hates uncertain outcome.”

“But never delude yourself into believing that you require someone else’s blessing (or even their comprehension) in order to make your own creative work.”

“Because often what keeps you from creative living is your self-absorption (your self-doubt, your self-disgust, your self-judgment, your crushing sense of self-protection).”

“Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred. What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all. We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits. We are terrified, and we are brave. Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege. Only when we are at our most playful can divinity finally get serious with us. Make space for all the paradoxes to be equally true inside your soul, and I promise- you can make anything. So please calm down now and get back to work, okay? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.”

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Gilbert explored some of the ideas in the book in two TED talks, 2009’s “Your Elusive Creative Genius” and 2014’s “Success, Failure and the Drive to Keep Creating.”

currently…

19 Oct

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looking forward to…

Carving a scary pumpkin with Brian, dressing Frank in his taco costume and parading him around town on Halloween, eating copious amounts of candy on Halloween, celebrating our wedding anniversary on November 9th (we’re turning two!), celebrating thanksgiving with our families (we are joining them all together for the first time), the holidays in general, getting a christmas tree (every year we name our tree Bert and this year it will be Bert IV), a quiet December with more time for creative projects, finishing some projects around the house, my upcoming trip to Kansas City to visit my step father Irv and to Atlanta to visit my girlfriend Chantal and her sweet family.

reading…

Oy. I got so many books going right now. My goal to read all these (& these) books by the end of the year has turned me into a reading machine (it has also set me up for failure. I still have so many to read!). I plan on putting together a book review post at some point. “At some point”- famous last words. Anyway, I read and LOVED “Everything I Never Told You”- I devoured it in three days. Then I moved onto “Luckiest Girl Alive” for one of my book clubs- still haven’t finished it. Can’t seem to get into it. What am I missing here? I think I still plan on finishing it. Maybe? It’s sits next to my bed waiting for me to pick it back up. In the meantime I’ve moved onto “Big Magic” and so far I am loving it. It’s all about living an inspired and creative life and I’m down for that.

watching…

So much tv- it’s embarrassing. I wish there weren’t so many shows that we liked. On Sundays we watch “Homeland” & “The Walking Dead”…on Monday we (or maybe I should say I)  watch the new sitcom “Life In Pieces” (have you seen it? I’m not one to laugh out loud when watching television but this show gets me every single time. The first episode literally had me crying)…on Tuesdays I got nothing (I usually catch up on my reading that night)…on Wednesdays we watch “American Horror Story”…on Thursdays we (ok, I force Brian to watch with me. It’s what marriage is all about, right?) watch “Grey’s Anatomy” (yes, some people still do. I can’t give up now, I’ve been watching it for twelve years at this point), “Scandal” & “How To Get Away With Murder”. Oh and then you have netflix…I am obsessed with “The Affair’ right now. We are six episodes into the first season and love it. Oh and lastly, we watched “Amy Schumer: live at the Apollo” on HBO last night. HAAAA. I love that women. So many inappropriate jokes but so funny.

you know what I’m not watching…

“The Leftovers”- I keep trying to watch it but I don’t think I’m smart enough. But really…is anyone smart enough? What is this show even about?? It frustrates me to no end.

practicing…

mindfulness in all things I do…from making the bed…to taking Frank on his morning walks…to spending time with the people I love.

loving…

My girlfriends. This is a constant feeling for me, but lately I’ve just been so in awe of the females in my life. Each relationship adds so much joy to my life and I can feel their support at all times. The tiny hints of fall in the air in Los Angeles, movie dates with my mom and brother (it takes me back to childhood. we have some good laughs), evening walks with Frank and Brian, flannel shirts,  avocados, pictures of my fiends babies (so many cute kids!), going to bed at ten (ok, 9:30) every night (I like my sleep) and my husband…I’m always loving my husband.

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What are you guys currently up to?

 

 

fall / winter booklist part 2

21 Sep

Happy Monday!

Here is part 2 of my fall/winter desired reading list. I realize it’s a strange mix of books! Everything from the history of Alice In Wonderland to a book about the human brain and it’s powers- I like to keep it varied.

Rising Strong by Brene Brown

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Social scientist Brené Brown has ignited a global conversation on courage, vulnerability, shame, and worthiness. Her pioneering work uncovered a profound truth: Vulnerability—the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome—is the only path to more love, belonging, creativity, and joy. But living a brave life is not always easy: We are, inevitably, going to stumble and fall.

It is the rise from falling that Brown takes as her subject in Rising Strong. As a grounded theory researcher, Brown has listened as a range of people—from leaders in Fortune 500 companies and the military to artists, couples in long-term relationships, teachers, and parents—shared their stories of being brave, falling, and getting back up. She asked herself, What do these people with strong and loving relationships, leaders nurturing creativity, artists pushing innovation, and clergy walking with people through faith and mystery have in common? The answer was clear: They recognize the power of emotion and they’re not afraid to lean in to discomfort.

Walking into our stories of hurt can feel dangerous. But the process of regaining our footing in the midst of struggle is where our courage is tested and our values are forged. Our stories of struggle can be big ones, like the loss of a job or the end of a relationship, or smaller ones, like a conflict with a friend or colleague. Regardless of magnitude or circumstance, the rising strong process is the same: We reckon with our emotions and get curious about what we’re feeling; we rumble with our stories until we get to a place of truth; and we live this process, every day, until it becomes a practice and creates nothing short of a revolution in our lives. Rising strong after a fall is how we cultivate wholeheartedness. It’s the process, Brown writes, that teaches us the most about who we are.

Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling

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In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you.

In “How to Look Spectacular: A Starlet’s Confessions,” Kaling gives her tongue-in-cheek secrets for surefire on-camera beauty, (“Your natural hair color may be appropriate for your skin tone, but this isn’t the land of appropriate–this is Hollywood, baby. Out here, a dark-skinned woman’s traditional hair color is honey blonde.”) “Player” tells the story of Kaling being seduced and dumped by a female friend in L.A. (“I had been replaced by a younger model. And now they had matching bangs.”) In “Unlikely Leading Lady,” she muses on America’s fixation with the weight of actresses, (“Most women we see onscreen are either so thin that they’re walking clavicles or so huge that their only scenes involve them breaking furniture.”) And in “Soup Snakes,” Kaling spills some secrets on her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and close friend, B.J. Novak (“I will freely admit: my relationship with B.J. Novak is weird as hell.”)

Mindy turns the anxieties, the glamour, and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into a laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays that anyone who’s ever been at a turning point in their life or career can relate to. And those who’ve never been at a turning point can skip to the parts where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper.

Mutant Message Down Under by Marlo Morgan

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Mutant Message Down Under is the fictional account of an American woman’s spiritual odyssey through outback Australia. An underground bestseller in its original self-published edition, Marlo Morgan’s powerful tale of challenge and endurance has a message for us all.

Summoned by a remote tribe of nomadic Aborigines to accompany them on walkabout, the woman makes a four-month-long journey and learns how they thrive in natural harmony with the plants and animals that exist in the rugged lands of Australia’s bush. From the first day of her adventure, Morgan is challenged by the physical requirements of the journey—she faces daily tests of her endurance, challenges that ultimately contribute to her personal transformation.

By traveling with this extraordinary community, Morgan becomes a witness to their essential way of being in a world based on the ancient wisdom and philosophy of a culture that is more than 50,000 years old.

Get In Trouble Stories by Kelly Link

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She has been hailed by Michael Chabon as “the most darkly playful voice in American fiction” and by Neil Gaiman as “a national treasure.” Now Kelly Link’s eagerly awaited new collection—her first for adult readers in a decade—proves indelibly that this bewitchingly original writer is among the finest we have.

Link has won an ardent following for her ability, with each new short story, to take readers deeply into an unforgettable, brilliantly constructed fictional universe. The nine exquisite examples in this collection show her in full command of her formidable powers. In “The Summer People,” a young girl in rural North Carolina serves as uneasy caretaker to the mysterious, never-quite-glimpsed visitors who inhabit the cottage behind her house. In “I Can See Right Through You,” a middle-aged movie star makes a disturbing trip to the Florida swamp where his former on- and off-screen love interest is shooting a ghost-hunting reality show. In “The New Boyfriend,” a suburban slumber party takes an unusual turn, and a teenage friendship is tested, when the spoiled birthday girl opens her big present: a life-size animated doll.

Hurricanes, astronauts, evil twins, bootleggers, Ouija boards, iguanas, The Wizard of Oz, superheroes, the Pyramids . . . These are just some of the talismans of an imagination as capacious and as full of wonder as that of any writer today. But as fantastical as these stories can be, they are always grounded by sly humor and an innate generosity of feeling for the frailty—and the hidden strengths—of human beings. In Get in Trouble, this one-of-a-kind talent expands the boundaries of what short fiction can do.

The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

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Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?

Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list).

With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international bestseller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home—and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.

Adventures For Your Soul by Shannon Kaiser

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Sometimes the one thing you need to make a change is to see things from a fresh perspective. Discover twenty-one innovative emotional explorations to boldly confront the habits that are holding you back in this breakthrough guide that provides the tools you need to fearlessly embrace your innermost desires.

Drawing from her own transformational experiences, Shannon Kaiser’s program utilizes an empowering process that encourages you to go on adventures for your soul so you can:

• Achieve your goals
• Remove limiting beliefs and self-sabotaging patterns
• Feel freedom from fear and live with purpose and passion
• Be unapologetic about your innermost desires
• And make happiness your natural way of life

By focusing on how your life feels instead of how it looks on the outside, you can passionately experience your own life adventures. By changing the way you see yourself, you can ultimately live life to the fullest.

The Story Of Alice by Robert Douglas- Fairhurst

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Following his acclaimed life of Dickens, Robert Douglas-Fairhurst illuminates the tangled history of two lives and two books. Drawing on numerous unpublished sources, he examines in detail the peculiar friendship between the Oxford mathematician Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) and Alice Liddell, the child for whom he invented the Alice stories, and analyzes how this relationship stirred Carroll’s imagination and influenced the creation of Wonderland. It also explains why Alice in Wonderland (1865) and its sequel, Through the Looking-Glass (1871), took on an unstoppable cultural momentum in the Victorian era and why, a century and a half later, they continue to enthrall and delight readers of all ages.

The Story of Alice reveals Carroll as both an innovator and a stodgy traditionalist, entrenched in habits and routines. He had a keen double interest in keeping things moving and keeping them just as they are. (In Looking-Glass Land, Alice must run faster and faster just to stay in one place.) Tracing the development of the Alice books from their inception in 1862 to Liddell’s death in 1934, Douglas-Fairhurst also provides a keyhole through which to observe a larger, shifting cultural landscape: the birth of photography, changing definitions of childhood, murky questions about sex and sexuality, and the relationship between Carroll’s books and other works of Victorian literature.

In the stormy transition from the Victorian to the modern era, Douglas-Fairhurst shows, Wonderland became a sheltered world apart, where the line between the actual and the possible was continually blurred.

You Are The Placebo by Dr. Joe Dispenza

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Is it possible to heal by thought alone—without drugs or surgery? The truth is that it happens more often than you might expect. In You Are the Placebo,Dr. Joe Dispenza shares numerous documented cases of those who reversed cancer, heart disease, depression, crippling arthritis, and even the tremors of Parkinson’s disease by believing in a placebo. Similarly, Dr. Joe tells of how others have gotten sick and even died the victims of a hex or voodoo curse—or after being misdiagnosed with a fatal illness. Belief can be so strong that pharmaceutical companies use double- and triple-blind randomized studies to try to exclude the power of the mind over the body when evaluating new drugs.

Dr. Joe does more than simply explore the history and the physiology of the placebo effect. He asks the question: “Is it possible to teach the principles of the placebo, and without relying on any external substance, produce the same internal changes in a person’s health and ultimately in his or her life?” Then he shares scientific evidence (including color brain scans) of amazing healings from his workshops, in which participants learn his model of personal transformation, based on practical applications of the so-called placebo effect. The book ends with a “how-to” meditation for changing beliefs and perceptions that hold us back—the first step in healing.

You Are the Placebo combines the latest research in neuroscience, biology, psychology, hypnosis, behavioral conditioning, and quantum physics to demystify the workings of the placebo effect . . . and show how the seemingly impossible can become possible.

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fall / winter 2015

9 Sep

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(image found via pinterest)

With 2015 nearing to a close…I know, I know, we still have four full months, but once September hits I can’t help but reflect on how I want the year to wrap up. September – December always seems to fly by and I find myself surprised every year on January 1st- it almost seems impossible that we are there again. The next four months also happen to be my absolute favorite time of year- I find myself most creatively alive during this time. I also love everything to do with the holidays and what they represent- family dinners, our wedding anniversary, carving pumpkins, dressing Frankie up for Halloween, cooking, warmth, bundling up, decorating trees, cuddling & new beginnings.

The last eight months have been an introspective time for me. Rather than exploring the world around me, as I usually do, I have been instead making the journey within. I knew at the start of 2015 that something was off.  I had baggage that I still hadn’t worked through and I was dragging it around with me. I couldn’t hide from it anymore. It was time to do the hard work, even if that meant that other things had to be put on the back burner. Something very hard for a person who desires immediate results like me to come to terms with. Instead I had to trust the process. It reminded me of that quote by Zora Neale Hurston –  “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” Thus far this year has most definitely been asking me some questions. Ones that needed answering and ones that positively shifted something in me once I did. I feel empowered and for that I am incredibly grateful.

Life man, such a wild ride sometimes, right?

When reflecting about how I want the next few months to unfold, it was clear to me that I want them to feed my soul, creative mind, relationships, home & belly. I want to soak in every bit of goodness that 2015 has left to offer me. I have a feeling the next four months will bring an entirely different energy than the first eight did and I am ready for that new energy.

Some of the ways I would like to spend the next few months…

Deepening my meditation practice. I know I have only been scratching at the surface and I am feeling a pull towards more. In addition to developing a stronger home practice I want to explore Unplug Meditation, Against The Stream & Shambhala Center.

Reading! There are fifteen (I might be setting myself up for failure on this one) books I would love to read before the end of the year. I’ll share them in a later post.

Cooking- I plan on spending some quality time in the kitchen! Again, there is something about fall and winter that inspire me to want to cook. I love hearty recipes and the feeling of warmth that comes from the kitchen this time of year.

I would love to put a small dinner party together in our home each month to bring our family and friends together. I want to make a point to enjoy the ones that matter most in my life. I also love to entertain.

I want to finish a few work projects that have been on the back burner for many many many months. As I mentioned previously, I put some things on the back burner to focus on me and it’s time to dust them off. They involve getting two book proposals finished and ready to submit in the new year and revamping my personal website which has been in purgatory for the last six months.

Practicing yoga. I want to make my yoga practice more of a priority over the next few months. My love for it has been renewed recently and I would love to keep the love affair going. My body just feels so much more balanced when I am practicing regularly.

I would love to finally find a property for the business Brian and I have been building with a few partners this past year. I can’t wait to share about it in the new year! Granted we find a property and the ball gets moving.

My home life- one of the most important aspects of my life. It has been in an incredibly solid and fulfilling place and I want to continue to watch it grow.

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There are years that ask questions and years that answer,

Years that

fall apart

and years that come together…

There are years that cry and years that laugh,

Years that wonder

And years that strike and clap and thunder.

. . .

Your job isn’t to know — not right now, not quite yet.

Your job is simply

to breathe,

to trust,

to rest

To know that it is all a part of the path —

The mystery and the clarity

The hardship and delight

The darkness and the light alike.

. . .

Dear One,

Haven’t you heard?

“This place where you are right now

God circled on a map for you.”

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enjoying where you are

6 Aug

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I’ve been thinking a lot about how much time we spend as human beings wishing we were already at the next step- turning 10, driving, turning 21, graduating, turning 30, more successful, thinner, richer, a home owner, married, a parent, a parent of two, retired etc. The list goes on. We are conditioned to always be wishing we were somewhere else. I am guilty of this. I often find that I forget to take in the step in which I am currently residing. Being present exactly were I am. The step I once longed to obtain that now feels like no big deal. There was a time not too long ago that I longed to be a wife, a home owner, working steadily as a fit model & of course a frenchie owner (!) If you would have told me that I would attain all those things I would have told you that I would be content. But that’s never the case, is it? Now that all those things are mine, I find myself longing to be in the next steps…motherhood, living in a bigger house with a bigger yard, a small business owner, making money full-time as a writer and an owner of two frenchies! Well, I’m kind of kidding about the two frenchies. I don’t think Frank would approve. He’s a one man show.

While I’m sure all those things that I wish for will bring me great joy when and if they happen, I am trying to instead pull great joy from what already is. Being grateful for what my life already looks like and let go of all the things I am hoping to get to next. I want to absorb every single joy, lesson, laugh and moment that my life has to offer me today.

Because it all passes by too quickly.

Just the other day I was reminiscing about our old apartment. Missing it, actually.  Granted when we lived in that apartment I couldn’t wait to get out of it. And now look, I miss it. I miss the simplicity of it. Life continues to get bigger and richer and fuller. I’m pretty sure as my life continues to grow, I will look back at this exact time in my life and miss it. When there are children running around our house, I’m sure I will miss the quiet I now take for granted. When we move to that bigger house with a bigger yard one day, I’m sure I will miss the place we live in now. I’ll probably feel overwhelmed with the new lawn. When we open our small business, I’m sure there are going to be days that will be completely overwhelming and I will wish I could go back to the simplicity and freedom of working as a fit model. I’ll long for the days when I tried on clothes for a living. When I finally do publish my first book, I’m sure I will start thinking about what the next one should be.

The cycle never seems to end. When are we ever happy with what is? Without immediately trying to get to the next step?

So today I am trying to remain completely present in what life currently looks like with no attachment to all that is still to come…or not to come…or might come.

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“True happiness is… to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future.”
Lucius Annaeus Seneca

 

monday morning meditation

3 Aug

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p a t i e n c e     is the     a n t i d o t e

Patience is the antidote to anger, a way to learn to love and care for whatever we meet on the path. By patience, we do not mean endurance- as in ” grin and bear it.” In any situation, instead of reacting suddenly, we could chew it, smell it, look at it, and open ourselves to seeing what’s there. The opposite of patience is aggression- the desire to jump and move, to push against our lives, to try to fill up space. The journey of patience involves relaxing, opening to whats happening, experiencing a sense of wonder.

-Pema Chodron-

project 30 – liz

14 Jul

 

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Liz, 30 / Hott Sauce

What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

It’s going to turn out even better than you could imagine.

What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?

My finances! I racked up a lot of credit card debt and paid absolutely no attention to things like my 401K, health insurance and savings. And I have no idea where all the money went. I wish I’d made some more responsible long-term financial decisions.

And my writing. I’ve always enjoyed writing but feel like I’m just now beginning to trust and believe that my voice is worth being heard. I sometimes fear I missed my window of opportunity.

But hey! My childhood idol Laura Ingalls Wilder wasn’t published until she was in her sixties so there’s hope for us all!

What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?

Oh lawd. Basically everything else! I have spent (and, I’ll be real, continue to spend) SO MUCH energy stressing over my career, friendships, boys, family, body image, health, the works. If it’s a thing, I’ve panicked over it at least once. I spent most of my 20’s thinking two steps ahead trying to plan for what might come next. I wish I had slowed down and enjoyed every step of the way for what it was.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

If I had to pick just one, I’d of course pick marrying my husband – snuck that milestone in right under the 3-0 wire just three weeks before my birthday. Nailed it. Brian is the best, full stop. Every day we spend together is the coolest, funnest, grandest adventure, but declaring our vows in front of our nearest and dearest was in its own sphere of amazing.

But really, I think when I look back what I’ll always associate with my 20’s is not one particular memory, but a whole collection of experiences gained living in New York. Working for my terrifying boss and having weird roommates and mice (ew) and drunkenly running around the East Village and never having enough money and figuring out the subway system and being surrounded by so much diversity and culture and general overstimulation. It’s such a singular, wild and intense place and I feel so much of my 20’s decade has been defined against this backdrop. It’s not for everyone but I’m so happy I’ve lived here. I can’t imagine spending these formative years anywhere else.

I do have one image that stands out, I was riding the D train from my job in Manhattan to my apartment in Brooklyn, just a few weeks after moving into the city which means I was 22 or just freshly 23. This train line goes across a bridge over the East River. As we came up from the tunnel it was that perfect time of day, the golden hour, and the sun was low and shimmery on the water, slipping down behind the tall buildings of lower Manhattan and I just sort of drank it all in, the bridges and the river, Brooklyn ahead of me and the famous New York City skyline behind me and it sounds a little cheesy but in that moment I realized this was my life! I was where I wanted to be and I was so happy.

It sounds so cheesy but sometimes I’ll get a moment like that again, I’ll be zipping along in a taxi or rushing to meet a friend somewhere and catch a glimpse of some building or person or smell from a food cart and suddenly be overwhelmed with gratitude and think “This is your life! Your whole, real life. Remember this!!”

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30?

I thought I’d be in PR or an event planner, living in New York City in an apartment with a lot of chic exposed brick.

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?

Living in New York City (check!) working as a publicist for a major national publishing house (this marries PR and events with my other true love, books, so check anddd check), in an apartment with several weird chandeliers but sadly no exposed brick. No washer/dryer, AC or dishwasher, either. Why do I love this city so much again?

I feel like I ought to be paying Kate big bucks for therapy (Kate, do you take Blue Cross Blue Shield?!) because it took me sitting down to answer this blog Q&A to force me to pause, look around and realize…I’m kind of right where I always wanted to be.

Life is not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. There are many experiences I’ve had I wish I could erase or things I’m going through now I wish I could change but overall, I’m like, MAKING IT HAPPEN. And so many things, as I said above, are even better than I could have imagined. I’m married to the most amazing guy and I have great friends and I’m well-respected at my job. I run and cook and have finally figured out how to style my hair (Another thing I’d tell my 20-year-old self: put down the box dye, girl.) and I have this brand new sweet baby niece and feel like I’m closer to my family than ever.

So why am I always think I’m never quite enough?

Hence owing Kate those big bucks. Guys, I am right now having an epiphany. Live on national, um, internet. So if you had to ask me what I would tell my 30-year, 10ish-month-old self it would be stop being so hard on yourself, you’re doing great.

(Fellow worry-warts and self-critics reading this, pause right now, sit down and take stock. I bet you’re doing a lot better than you think you are! I think you’re great.)

Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?

Um, literally all the time. See everything else I’ve already said. Worrying is my #1 hobby.

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

An overall confidence and sense of self. No longer feeling the need to listen to “cool” bands because some dude likes them or stay out late drinking because I don’t want to feel left out or pretend to have read all the smartest literature or follow fashion trends. Like, crop tops? Hell no.

I have a better sense of what I like, what I want and who I am. And I think I have a better sense of who and what matters. I don’t want to say I care less what people think about me at 30 than I did at 20 because I do still care how I am perceived, but now I’m getting a little bit better at identifying, you know “is this person’s opinion of value? Will it help me to become a better person or truer version of myself?” and if yes, I’ll try to listen and learn. And if no, well, fuck ’em.

Ok, I’m not always the best at that last one but I think the 30’s are all about learning how to let the unimportant stuff slide.

When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?

You know what, I’m not even going to think about where I might be at 40. As previously revealed I have a bit of, um, a habit (slash problem) of worrying how things will turn out and then freaking out when they don’t go according to my plan. In the past I always knew the broad strokes, at least, of how I wanted my life to look: first college than a year abroad then NYC. Through work or luck or who knows what it has, so far, more or less fallen into place. And I am full of gratitude for all of the good and bad and medium things that have brought me to where I am today.

But I find myself for the first time unsure of exactly what I want my future to look like. I know I hope to have children and take exciting trips and continue to challenge myself creatively, physically and intellectually and still be head over heels for my fella 10, 20, a million years into the future. But there are so many questions without easy answers and factors out of my control. When do we have children? How many? What if I can’t get pregnant or end up with quintuplets? Will I stay in publishing or look to start a new career? Will we live in the city or move to (shudder) the suburbs? How will we afford all the things we hope to see and do and experience?

And on and on.

I’m making a conscious effort to S-L-O-W D-O-W-N and stop trying to plan the future. I want to really be present in the now and take and embrace every new challenge and opportunity as they arise. I’m learning — yes, at an oh so glacial pace, but I AM learning — to live with uncertainty.

So I’ll just say that wherever I land at 40, whatever it looks like, I just hope I’m happy and healthy and at peace with all I’ve done and all that’s yet to come.

Also I would not be mad if this place of zenlike self-realization happened to come with an in-unit washer and dryer. I feel like that’s not too much to ask?

What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

“Shake it off.” – Taylor Swift

(I wish that was a joke, ha!)

connect with Liz

 blog / instagram @lizho914 / Facebook 

currently: on the ground next to my bed

8 Jul

books

In a perfect world this post would have been entitled “currently: on my nightstand” but I don’t have a nightstand. I must change this nightstand situation soon because the pile of books next to my side of the bed is getting out of hand. I trip over them constantly. Although, they do come in handy when I am in need a surface to balance my water and chapstick on. Anyways, my bedroom layout/makeover is for another post…a home decor post. This post is about books! Are you guys reading anything good?? I have a handful of books going right now. It depends on my mood which one I pick up on a given day. Does anybody else read 5 books at a time? Or do I just have commitment issues?

Currently on the floor…next to my bed…

“The Brain That Changed Itself” by Norman Doidge

I’ve been interested in the powers of the human brain recently, so I found this book about neuroplasticity fascinating. Until recently the brain was thought to be hardwired and unchangeable- much like a machine. But new research shows that the brain is a plastic, living organ that can change its structure and function…and not only in infancy like originally thought but well into old age. I’m not usually one to read books that you can find in the science section at the bookstore but this one reads different from a wordy textbook. It is filled with personal stories of triumph- ranging from stroke patients to amputees…to my personal favorite…a woman who recovers from the damage to her inner ear’s vestibular system.

“Bird By Bird: some instructions on writing and life” by Anne Lamott

Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.’

One of my favorite excerpts from the book. The way her brother felt about his report on birds is how I feel about life some days. Not the fabulous parts but the parts that feel hard. I doubt I am alone here. Sometimes certain tasks, projects, lessons and days for that matter seem completely overwhelming and all you can do is take it bird by bird. As you can probably tell from the title of the book it’s not only a book about how to navigate life but also how to navigate being a writer. Anne Lamott is such a soulful and funny writer. I have a major crush on her.

“The Girl On The Train” by Paula Hawkins

I know. I know. I’m so late to girl on the train party. It seems like everybody and their mother has read this book- and loved it for that matter.. I think it’s taken me so long to read it because I was waiting to borrow it from a friend but no one seems to have paper books anymore. Instead everyone has an electronic device. Clearly, I am late to the electronic device party as well. I just hate the idea of saying goodbye to books. Anyway, I’ve seem to have diverged. Back to the girl on the train. I’ve barely just begun it but I have a feeling I’m going to devour it quickly.

“The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz

I have read this book a million times and it never disappoints. It’s always next to my bed and I pick it up from time to time when I am in need of some wisdom. The author Don Miguel Ruiz shares four principles (1- Be impeccable with your word 2- Don’t take anything personally 3- Don’t make assumptions 4. Always do your best ) to practice in order to create love and happiness in your life. Has anyone not read this book? You must run out and buy it immediately if you have not. It’s so so so good.

“Euphoria” by Lily King 

My mom passed along this book to me after reading it and loving it. I have yet to begin it but it’s up next after The Girl On The Train. Here’s the synopsis…Euphoria is Lily King’s nationally bestselling breakout novel of three young, gifted anthropologists of the ‘30’s caught in a passionate love triangle that threatens their bonds, their careers, and, ultimately, their lives. Inspired by events in the life of revolutionary anthropologist Margaret Mead, Euphoria is “dazzling … suspenseful … brilliant…an exhilarating novel.”—Boston Globe. Sounds like an interesting read, right? Has anybody read it?

“Taking The Leap” by Pema Chodron 

And lastly, Taking The Leap….yet another book that has a permanent place next to my bed (as you can probably tell by its ripped cover). The always inspiring Pema Chodron draws on the Buddhist concept of shenpa to help one understand how certain habits of the mind tend to “hook” us and get us stuck in states of anger, blame, self-hatred, and addiction. But once recognize these patterns, they instantly begin to lose their hold on us and we can begin to change our lives for the better. I pick it up often when I am in need of her reboot.

….so what are you guys reading???

“I never feel lonely if I’ve got a book – they’re like old friends. Even if you’re not reading them over and over again, you know they are there. And they’re part of your history. They sort of tell a story about your journey through life.” – Emilia Fox

 

 

word love

7 Jul

2177c91d30e5e64e71112cf1d321b0b7

 

project 30 – liz

18 Jun

lina-and-me-valborg-2015

Liz, 40 / be love live

What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

Well, let me start off by admitting that I am actually 40, so I’ve made it through my 20s and my 30s. And I am all the better for the amazing, beautiful journey that it has been! I’m going to try to do a little time traveling back to my 30 something year old brain, but just know that everything that I share from here on out is from a 40-year-old perspective. And, this 40-year-old perspective is oh so different from my 30-year-old perspective!

So many people are frightened of hitting the big 3-0. I was not one of them. However, I was freaked out, having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that I’d soon be leaving my 20s, unable to grasp the idea that I was going to be 30. A real adult, or so I thought. Still, I looked forward to turning 30. I was hoping that it would be “my decade”. And you know what? It totally was! (So far, at least!) In my 30s, I came into myself. I found the courage + strength to live life on my terms. I accepted and loved myself in ways that my 20 something self only dreamed of. I took the time to discover my own path, leaving the pressures and expectations of society behind.

I quit my stable job. Got divorced. Moved to Europe. And embarked on an incredibly freeing journey of learning to live an authentic life.

What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?

Oh, how i wish I had taken my soul more seriously. I wish that I had listened to my intuition more and let the voices of others fall by the wayside. I have always been drawn to a life propelled and inspired by the inner world of our spirit. In my 20s, my heart and soul were all but screaming at me to just be true to myself, but I kept telling myself that my mystic, hermit ways made me a boring person. But, what I really wanted to do was simply enjoy the magic of being married to my husband, roaming the world together, living simply, having adventures, inspiring others through my words and pictures (not my husband’s dreams, mind you). I didn’t want a typical life – I craved something different. I craved the freedom of a gypsy soul.

But, I just couldn’t live like that. I was nowhere near secure enough to understand the seriousness of living life from your soul. I heard and felt the rumblings from within, but I just couldn’t set myself free quite yet.

What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?

I wish that I had taken my expectations less seriously. I wanted to make everyone around me happy. I truly believed back then that, if everyone in my life was happy and content, then I would be. And, in some ways I was. Ignorance was bliss.

So, life in my 20s was a crazy balancing act. I felt the call to live life authentically, to be free to be me; and yet, I didn’t heed the call. Instead I felt self-induced pressure to be more “normal”. I went through roller-coaster periods of feeling blissfully happy with my marriage, my stable job, and my small town life. I even dreamed of starting a family. And then, after some time, the urge to wander + roam the world, the urge to pack it all up and become a desert hermit in order to give my soul the attention that it needed, took over. I teetered back and forth between these two extremes all throughout my 20s, certain that I had to choose one over the other.

Until I hit my 30s. And then, I began to truly listen. And I found, with lots of help from friends, mentors, counselors, and graduate professors, the courage to act. I didn’t have to choose between married life and a monastic, pilgrim’s life. I just had to choose my life.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

I am going to answer this question stream-of-consciously because I cannot remember a specific memory. Or, rather, I can remember so many different moments.

All of the memories that are coming to mind have a few something in common: they involve travel. Like the time my ex-husband and I drove across the country in our silver Toyota Four Runner, sleeping in the back, exploring the vast, beautiful country from coast to coast. Standing in the Painted Desert, feeling connected to the entire Universe. Dipping my toes in the Pacific Ocean. Waking up on the Oregon coastline. Camping under the mountains in Glacier National Park. Photographing a buffalo in Yellowstone. Driving on two lane roads through barren, sky-filled South Dakota.

I am certain that this trip symbolized the freedom that I was so desperately seeking (not freedom from my life, but freedom from within).

Amazingly, I had the opportunity to make the coast to coast trip again about 5 years ago, when I was 35. This time, on my honeymoon with my Swedish wife. Wink.Wink.

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30?

In my early 20s, I thought that I would move to Europe and have a job that involved helping others. I desperately wanted to make a difference in the world – I knew that I was here to do that. And, I even more desperately wanted to live in Europe, perhaps even working as a retreat leader for people, while writing books and teaching classes. I could visit bakeries, walk everywhere, and travel the world. I ‘d live with the guy I’d met in Denmark as a young 21-year-old, and I was determined to find anything that would help me get to Denmark to live with him and share the European life that I had been dreaming of. I just knew that, even if it didn’t work out with him (and it didn’t), that I’d still find myself living somewhere different, working as a counselor/teacher/writer. Those were my dreams.

When that relationship ended, I saw my chance to move to Denmark fade away. But, I still felt passionate about travel and other cultures and making a difference. So, I thought I’d be a missionary. But, many people in my life didn’t think that was a safe/smart/good idea, so I decided to set all of those dreams aside and settle down – not at all what I dreamed that I would be doing at 30. But, exactly how I found myself living when I turned 30. Married. Stable job. Happy. Yet restless.

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?

As I indicated in the previous question, my life was not the dreamy, romantic adventure I had hoped for. It was a good life, though. And, one that I now understand was necessary in order to do some more soul-searching.

At 30, I had been married for seven years to a good man. We lived in a small town in the mountains of North Carolina, in a beautiful cottage about 5 minutes from the church where I worked as a minister and counselor. I had followed through on my dream to work in a helping profession, and it was a job that allowed me to travel and explore, taking young people and other adults with me. It was beautiful, wonderful work – guiding and mentoring others on their own journey through life. Writing and teaching and sharing very special moments with others. I was honored to have this job that I loved.

Still, I wanted more. I yearned for more. I wanted to go to graduate school. And, perhaps, I wanted a family. And I still wanted to move to some place different to experience another way of life. But, I had no idea how to do any of those things. At 30 I was still dreaming, but not quite ready to let myself fulfill my own dreams.

Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?

Hell yes. Everything about my 20s felt panicky. Like I had to have “it” all figured out. Like there was some race I was running. Against who, I have no idea. I worked hard to make things happen, things that never did happen either because I got scared of following my heart when others didn’t agree or the stars just weren’t lined up right. But, I absolutely thought that things should be done when I thought they should be done. The 20s was a scary decade. A miscarriage, an unfaithful husband, and the inability to claim the life that I dreamed of made my dreams all feel impossible. So, perhaps the only thing I learned that I could control was deciding to help others – to put everyone else before me. I wanted to control. I was terrified of the unknown.

But, oh how I have learned to live differently in my 30s. I learned to love the unknown.

Life is a process that we create. We are active, and yet we just let it unfold. Most importantly, we must stay true to ourselves. Because, when we tap into our souls and live from them, then the life that unfolds before us may not look at all like what we planned, but is pretty much always way more beautiful + amazing than we ever could have imagined.

Yes, our days are numbered. And we are not guaranteed tomorrow. So, the best thing to do is to just be. To simply be present. Right here. Right now. To give it time. To stay true + open + aware. We are creating our own lives with every single moment. And, everything falls into place in its own time. We can’t understand or predict it, but we can trust and breathe and soak up the life that we live. And, in time, it all makes sense.

My 40-year-old self, tells my 20 something self to relax a bit. And my 40-year-old self tells my 30 something self to keep on discovering and listening and being.

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

For me, the greatest gift of being in my 30s was claiming my life as my own. I learned to listen to my soul and to say “F*ck it!” to the expectations to be anything but who I truly am. And by learning to put being before doing, I found a deep level of inner peace that I had been searching for. From that peace, I took risks. I found courage. I changed my life.

I went to graduate school. I traveled to Europe again. I divorced my ex-husband. I quit my job. I sold my things. I took off to live in Denmark. I fell in love – with a woman. I re-married. I moved to Sweden. I left the church. I began writing. I found myself.

The greatest gift that I received in my 30s was freedom. The freedom to simply be me.

When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?

As you know by now, I have already crossed over this horizon; but I am a mere 40 something baby, since I just turned 40 a few months ago. I can say that, as a woman in my 30s, I did not have anything specific that I was aiming for by the time I turned 40. I was still coming into my own all the way up until then (and still am now). And I don’t make those kinds of plans anymore. I am much slower and much more in the present moment these days.

Not that I don’t have dreams and goals. Oh yes, I do. And they are out there on my 50 year old horizon. They inspire me and help to keep me aligned to my true self.

In my 40s, I hope to continue to evolve and transform. I hope to find even more peace. And I hope to begin to make a shift from learning (which I did in my thirties) to teaching and guiding. I want to continue to travel and write and photograph. I am currently writing my first book – a memoir that tells my story from my divorce to my 40th year. But my biggest, most practical goal hanging out there in the future is to shift all of this into a business. I’m not a business person at all, but I have to trust that things will unfold as time passes.

What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

My blog is titled “be|love|live” because these are the ways that I discovered how to live an authentic life in my 30s, how to be true to who I am and to make a difference in the world. So, I’ll leave you with my three of my favorite quotes:

BE: “At the center of your being, you have the answer. You know who you are and you know what you want.” – Lao Tau

LOVE: “You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.” – Frederick Buechner

LIVE: “Following your bliss is not self-indulgent, but vital; your whole physical system knows that this is the way to be alive in this world and the way to give to the world the very best that you have to offer. There is a track just waiting for each of us and once on it, doors will open that were not open before and would not open for anyone else.” – Joseph Campbell

My 40-year-old self has learned a lot. And has a lot still to learn. Though I have advice for my 20 something + 30 something selves, I am thankful for how they have led me to exactly where I am right now. Do I wish I had known more back then? Maybe. But, maybe not. Because it’s all part of the beautiful journey of life.

And somewhere along the way I finally listened to my soul. I took one risk after another, afraid of losing it all at one time. But, I listened. And my soul sang for me. And here I am. Just me. There’s no use trying to be anything else. We all have been created to be exactly who we are, the challenge is to find the courage + the strength + the craziness to listen to that inner voice, telling us to just be…. well, us.

connect with the lovely Liz / blog / instagram: @belovelivephotography / facebook: Be Love Live

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