Sunday, February 27, 2011

I Got the Bug

The travel bug....

I'm not a huge fan of going to the gym. I find it uninspiring and in most weather conditions I would prefer to run outside. But due to a nagging hip pain (probably from running too many miles in one week) I am stuck on the stationary bike for at least 45 minutes so I can keep my legs moving and break at least an ounce of a sweat.

That being said, my bike ride was surprisingly inspiring this morning. To my delight, I was the only gym goer this morning in my apartment complex and I got full control of the TV remote! Now I do not own a TV of my own so it is always difficult to decide what I want to indulge in while working out. It's usually a toss up between Food Network, Say Yes To the Dress marathons, Cake Boss, or my oh so favorite Travel Channel. Usually my gut will tell me what will entertain me during 45 minutes of monotonous cycling and today it was the Travel Channel.

They were featuring the best natural wonders of the west in the United States. And as they counted down, I was excited to see that I had been to a few of them. Suddenly, I was deeply immersed in memories of the places I have visited before, yearning to go back and dreaming of the new places I could travel to. And this was strong yearning, a need to get out there and go!

It reminded me how much I miss traveling. My husband A and I got to see some of the coolest parts of the U.S. while living in our tent and driving around the country. And now having been sitting still for about 8 or 9 months, in a small, urban, Midwestern town I am craving some new sites and some new adventures.

If I'm completely honest, I've allowed my self to get comfortable here. And I don't think that's a bad thing. I've created a home that I like and I've pulled a lot of inspiration from my experiences here. But, the program really got me thinking about my past experiences and how much I have grown and changed from seeing the world and meeting people of all cultures. There is something so exhilarating about going someplace new and really taking in the essence of where you are. When I see an image of Arches National Park, I not only remember what it looked like, but I know how it felt to sit on the cool, slick red rock as the sun was setting over Delicate Arch. When I see a picture of the Grand Canyon, I not only remember the vastness, but know what the dust smelled and tasted like. I felt the triumph of taking someone without the ability to walk on the trail in the Kili-Kart (another story for another day...but you can take a look at this video if you want to know about our trip.)

I know there is a reason I have this bug right now. There is purpose out there for me and A. There's a reason why the open road calls us and the 4 corners of the world are so appealing. We just haven't figured out all the answers yet. But I feel a shift in what my purpose is in this world and I can tell that A is feeling the same. Things could get interesting from here!

But when you have to stay still for a little bit longer and carry out some important promises, how do you stay focused and not get too distracted by the bug?

Well first, I say never be afraid to think about the outside possibilities and allow them to affect you. One of the things that always gives me hope and a sense of freedom, is that no matter how "stuck" I think I am, I'm never really "stuck." There are always options that seem invisible because of fear or because others make us think that those options are crazy or impossible. This was something I struggled with for a long time and still do sometimes. But ultimately, you have to figure out what makes you happy. And the people that love you and care about you will help you realize those things. They won't hold you back. Don't be afraid to let what you want affect you. Seize it.

I also like to get inspired by travel shows (One of my favorites is Anthony Bourdain No Reservations), movies, books (Into the Wild, Travels with Charlie, and Three Cups of Tea), magazines, and old photographs from my own travels. That's a great way to reminisce and think about things you want to do to keep you inspired if you're currently in an uninspiring situation. I've uploaded some of my favorite shots to maybe help inspire others!

Parked on the scenic road that travels though Shenandoah National Park in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Traveling Pacific Highway 1 on the central coast of California

Hiking the Bright Angel Trail in Grand Canyon National Park with a group of 30 incredible counselors assisting our friend who can't walk in a trail device to the mighty Colorado River

Stopping to see some inspirational folk art in the quirky town of Lucas, Kansas 

Backpacking down Kolob Canyon in Zion National Park in Utah

Doing an arc in front of the Arch at Arches National Park in Moab, Utah

I'm not saying you should spend all your time day dreaming about places you want to go, because I am a huge advocate of living in the present and finding inspiration where we are, but we should be dreaming big! A great adventure can often start with just a notion. And today I am allowing myself to indulge in these notions because I know if I believe in them strong enough, they will happen in some way or another :) I've made them happen before...

As Henry David Thoreau so wisely stated: 

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined."

What will your direction be?

BPositive and BBold and Dream!


Thursday, February 24, 2011


There are so many sayings and cliches about the word HOME.

Home Sweet Home
Home is Where the Heart is
Home Away from Home
There's No Place Like Home...

Today the subject of home came up in a conversation with M. And I've realized that it's been on my mind. I've been wanting desperately to go back to my hometown in April and unsure if it will be able to happen. This is where all my family will be together to celebrate Passover. It's where my family is. It is one of my homes. My original home.

Just this morning, with her oh so perfect timing as always, I got a text message from M. As I described my mundane morning to her she responded back in delight! In so many words she told me how lucky I was to have a home. A husband to wake up next to in the morning time, a kitchen to cook breakfast in, and a window in which to watch the unexpected winter thunder shower. And here I was feeling sorry for myself for possibly not being able to go home to Rhode Island! I have a home right here.

Of course, this matter does not go completely unnoticed to me. I am extremely thankful for what I have and lately more so than ever. But I was yearning for another home so badly that I was forgetting that this home is so special. And it got me wondering what is it about a place that we live, truly makes it a home....

I've been working very hard to make this place my home. This city, that is fine, but not what I love.  This apartment, that has what we need, but is a little dark and cave-like. And this overall circumstance of being here that can be frustrating, exhausting, and uncertain.  For months I refused to accept that I lived here. I figured it was so short term, I would just float on by until it was over, knowing full well we'd be moving on to somewhere new. And that's the problem with the nomadic spirit. You drift, find sanctity, and then drift to new endeavors. This time however, I was just drifting.

My original home of course is where my parents are. I still call that home. My second home was a bright yellow tent that could be staked just about anywhere. With all our possessions stashed in the back of our car, sometimes even that was called home. My unexpected home we found at a camp in small town Kentucky. I only lived there for 4 months and it's been one of my favorite homes of all time. I could still go back there, with no campers, no counselors, no people at all and it would still feel like home. It has memories and comfortable smells, and images that I could never forget. And here I sit writing to you from my current home in Springfield, MO. Yet another unexpected home, but a home nonetheless.

So what does all this mean?  What constitutes a home?

My husband wisely says "I don't think a home is about building strong walls around you for protection and security. I think home is about learning how to sleep anywhere."

I think he's just about got it. It reminds you that a home doesn't have to be a house. A home doesn't even have to have 4 walls. A home may or may not be something you own or even pay for.

I think the key component he is missing is the stuff that gets built on the inside. And not just material things and not just the inside of a physical place. Building inside could mean memories, stories, laughter, and strength. Building inside could have nothing to do with the roof over your head and everything to do with the growing of your heart.

I've had many homes in my life so far and I am realizing now that this home, right now is one of the most important ones yet. It's the home where my marriage began. It's the home where my writing began. It's the home where my spiritual journey began. It's the home where my art is thriving. It's the home where I learned to not give up on myself. It's the home where I learned to let go and not hold on to things too tightly. It's the home where I am learning hard lessons, but not falling apart. It is a home where I feel proud of myself. It's the home where I still have fears, but I'm learning to conquer them. It's my first home that I am taking care of as a wife and an independent adult. This is my home.

How could I let something this important just float by while I wait for the next thing to happen?

Ultimately a home is a place where you take a journey. And my journey here is not complete. I'm really content sitting here in my home writing to you today. I feel safe as the rain pitter patters outside. And feel thankful that I am not afraid to share my words. Thanks for sharing in my journey through writing and making art in my home of Springfield, MO. I know this won't be my home forever, but it's a really important mark on my path and I intend to soak up every minute of it.

I write this blog entry to you today so you can think about your home and your journey at the moment. Maybe it's not ideal but likely, you are exactly where you are supposed to be.

Until next time...

BPositve and BPresent!


Thursday, February 17, 2011


Dear faithful friends and readers. I have decided on installment #3 of this windy, unpredictable "project" I have embarked on. And with this new installment in mind, I write to you today from a different setting and a different mindset. Part of why I love writing this blog is because it gives me a chance to be completely honest and open with whomever is listening. And it allows me to be honest with myself by doing what is most challenging for me; Openly admitting to what is happening in my mind and more importantly my heart. Admittedly, I am a bottler. I trap those things inside and I don't let many people see them.

So here I am, as usual, in all my honesty, fully exposed and never ashamed. And I want to discuss a big challenge that I face and I'd imagine others do as well: receiving.

Now, I made a promise to myself this year that I would allow my spiritual growth to be incorporated in my blog and eventually the book that I will write. I've never been great with promises. I've always used the term loosely and with negligence. But, I do promise that this side story ties in with receiving, so hang in there!

Recently, as I use this word with greater care, my promises seem to be surfacing in tangible ways. I write them down and I visualize them everyday and even if weeks go by where I feel lazy and don't want to actively contribute to my promise, there always comes a day where it dawns on me in perfect light and I feel incredibly inspired to create, contribute and share. Today is one of those days. One of my promises has been to be faithful and true to this blog and writing my accounts, but until today I have felt uninspired and lazy to get going on installment 3.

However,  something has really dawned on me recently. I have a new faith that when the timing is not right, I'm not supposed to act, and when the timing is right, everything is perfectly clear. I knew the clear day would come so I did not push myself to write things that were forced and insincere. And when I want something positive in my life, something that is very pure in my heart, there always comes a pivotal moment where these things are given to me in some form. And this is happening often enough that I worry very little about breaking promises. I know I will come through. Because I know I have help and I am not alone. I am receiving faith.

So I sit writing to you from an area in my room that I have set up and designated to prayer, meditation, safety and growth. A place where I can begin to understand what God and faith means to me and listen the deepest desires inside my heart. A place where I can continue to learn how to receive.

Lets back track to last week...

I got together with some new friends to watch the movie The Secret. I always knew there was a lot of hype about this movie and until now honestly, I have avoided it. The appeal, for me, of going and watching the movie was more about connecting with other women who live in my area. I've been completely lonely here and craving time with people who I can really talk to, face to face. This group  I found is called the Shakti Women and from what I gathered by online comments and photos, they seemed like exactly the people I wanted to be near. So what happened?

a) I almost bailed because I was having a hard day and didn't want to be around other people in all my negativity

b) I felt a push to go to the movie night anyway and put aside my fears and open myself to something I previously felt unsure about 

c) I was given 3 kind souls, a cup of my favorite tea and some positive and enlightening conversation.

For the first time in a while, I listened to something other than my self destructive tendency to bottle things up and hide. I listened and received an invitation to be with other people who may even understand. I received it, I cherished it and I felt really happy and loved.

Now as far as the movie goes, I am very glad to have watched it, but I'm not here to review it or even tell you of its content or convince you to see it for yourself. There are many sides to all stories. But what I do know is that one of the major themes was receiving. What do you know? Doesn't life tend to provide us with powerful and relevant information when we need it? Id God helping us see it? And more importantly, is he helping us receive it?

I have always had a hard time receiving. And I realize now that receiving is a much broader topic than what it seems. It's not about taking something, smiling and saying thank you. To truly receive from others, you have to love yourself and feel worthy of what is being given to you. I think it goes without saying that love for yourself is the most critical reception of all. I'm not afraid to say that I am still working on that one :)

But love is only one thing that we receive. We also have desires of what is in our hearts (and I'm not talking just about materials. Although there is nothing wrong in my opinion about wanting something for yourself that is material.) There are a lot of things in life that I want. And there are many dreams that I have.

So, based on the movie that we watched and the deep conversation that we had about what our hearts' desires, I spent time with some new friends and created what is called a Vision Board. I put a lot of time into this because it seemed to be something very necessary for my life right now. A way that I could truly stay focused on what is most important to me. I wanted it to be something special and artistic and easy to read by my own eyes. Something I could look at it every single day and feel proud and eager to receive what my heart wants.

Here is my board. It may be difficult to see specific things but I'm not going to list them off for you. The words don't mean as much as the imagery and I would not be doing them justice.

I want to be bold and say that today, I have no worries or questions in my mind about the contents on this board becoming a reality. I can't be sure that things will actualize in exactly the way that I imagine, but I believe that what my heart wants and needs is going to happen. And every step along the way, I am more than willing to receive what is given to me, even if it comes in a rare or unexpected form. 

I wasn't sure I wanted to write this blog today. I've been debating it all week and feeling worried about it. But today when I woke up I sat down in my new inspiring section of my room to just have some quiet and peace of mind and without really asking myself, is this something I needed to share? I got my answer. It was a similar feeling to the push I had to watch the movie with my new friends. Just a feeling that it would be good to write. Good to share. And good to receive any kind of feedback that comes as a result, positive or negative. 

So from the floor of my new space in my room, I give you complete vulnerability. In a place where I can finally receive certain things that I have never felt worthy of receiving before. It's a work in progress, but I am 1,000% ok with that because I know I'm trying and I know I'm willing. I am slowly but surely receiving positive things into my heart. I am slowly but surely starting to understand what God means to me and letting him in my heart. My spiritual heart. 

So how will you receive today? As a small exercise just really open your eyes today. Don't look for things or try to find something that you wouldn't ordinarily see. Just keep your eyes open and receive something new. It comes in all forms and it's very refreshing.  And I will be putting the Receive picture on facebook. If you feel like there is someone who could use some help receiving, please tag them and share the blog with them. Everyone deserves to receive :)

As always... BPositive and BReceptive


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Strong Friends Drink Tea-Art

Hey Tea Lovers!

Here are some new pictures of some projects I've been playing around with. I've been using recycled coffee filters (cleaned of course) to make my own tea bags for projects. They are tinted with that awesome coffee color and they smell good too! They can be stuffed with anything. I used Barley in both of these. I want to say that they don't serve a purpose, but the purpose is that they make me really happy. I'm excited to make more tea bags that represent strength, friendship and support and start sending them to the people I love. They are so fun to decorate. They'd probably make great ornaments for the holidays or something to hand in the window of the kitchen! So here's the beginning stages of my tea art. It will be fun to see how it progresses from here!

More Art to come! 

BPositve and BCreative!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Strong Friends Drink Tea

Installment #2 of my blog project is called: Strong Friends Drink Tea. Here's how the story goes...

Ah, the mother ship...
My trip to the Celestial Seasonings Factory, while really interesting and delicious, was not what began my long love affair with tea. Tea has been a part of my life for a while now, but I'm realizing recently just how much it means to me and that there may be a more symbolic and deeper understanding I must discover. 

I really enjoy hot drinks in general. Even in the heat of the summer, I prefer hot coffee, treat myself to hot chocolate in the evenings, and hot cider is always a must in the fall months.  But at least twice a day I open my cupboard and look at my tea stash and decide what I'm in the mood for at that moment. Yerba Mate? English Breakfast? Ginger? And herbal blend with hibiscus and orange peel? Chai? The more choices the better! And I'm happy to say that my stash is always in abundance, not just because I buy a lot of tea, but because I share tea with the people I love. My Mother-in-Law puts tea in my stocking at Christmas time, M sends me tea with every package, my sister E sent me some beautifully scented loose leaf herbal tea made locally in her area, and B is always good for some Cranberry Apple Celestial Seasonings! I have such abundance in more than just tea! 

Now tea is really special to me for many reasons and I know that I'm not alone. About 2 years ago I read one of the most inspiring stories I have ever encountered. It's called Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. I won't divulge into the whole book, it's not really even about tea overall, but the deeper meaning behind the relationships formed in the book have everything to do with tea. The setting is the Balti Village of Pakistan, a remote village nestled in the Karakoram Mountain Range. There, tea is not just a beverage, but a way of life.  And here is the best way to explain the ritual: 

The first cup of tea that you share is a cup between strangers. 
The second cup that you share is enjoyed between two friends. 
And the third cup you drink together means that you have become family. 

I think this is such a beautiful way to view drinking tea. It proves to me that there is something much deeper to this ritual than just quenching your thirst. For a while now, I've been inspired by tea. Inspired to make art, inspired to take pictures, inspired to connect with friends and share stories with them! And understanding the importance of tea in other cultures only creates a further desire to share "tea moments." 

I'll tell you my own tea story.

My husband traveled to Taiwan on business a few years ago now. He bought me a beautiful authentic Taiwanese tea set in a wooden box. He brought back local Oolong tea and showed me how to wash the leaves and brew them to perfection based on his Taiwanese associate's specific instructions. This tea was so exciting to me. It was foreign and exotic and made me feel like I should slow down and enjoy the process. My love for this intriguing little plant grew. 

About a year later while I was working in Eastern Colorado, cleaning houses to support my travels with my husband, I met an unexpected friend. M was working with my husband because her father was employing them both at the time. M and I officially met for the first time at her house after a long day of hard labor for everyone. I was dressed in my usual nomadic travelers attire; hiking pants, a headband, and a comfortable t-shirt. M was in jeans and sneakers and a bright orange T-shirt. To this day, that orange shirt still represents her bright, sunny personality. We decided that trespassing the corn fields, wheat fields, sunflower fields, and cow pastures would be a perfect way to spend the afternoon. An opportunity for two girls from what might as well be opposite sides of the world could learn about one another and become friends. "But first" M asked "Do you want a cup of tea?" 

"Did I want a cup of tea?" Of course I did!! I asked her to wait right there because I had some special tea I wanted to share with her on this occasion of two strangers drinking their first cup. I went out to the car and brought in my battered up box of Oolong from Taiwan. We brewed it in a beautiful little pot given to M by her sister. M's house was so comforting. It had a unique quality of nothing I've ever experienced before. We sipped our Oolong and did our formal introductions. Who are the members of your family? Did you always grow up here? What was your major in college? Have you ever traveled? All the grounds were covered.  

Then we walked. We talked more and we took in the surroundings. M's home is one of my favorite places on the planet. The sky and the land meet right in the middle with a perfectly sharp, crisp line. The bottom is earthy with greens and browns. The top is cool blues, whites and grays. They remain perfectly separate until the sun sets and casts red, orange, and pink all over everything. The flatness gives an illusion of being able to walk for hours and not ever be too far from home. It's exposed and a little frightening for a girl who grew up around trees. But M looked so at peace there that I couldn't help but feel the same. 
We made shadows in the fields and went home for our second cup of tea...
This time we shared some herbal tea with a hint of lemon. And from that point on I knew we were forever friends. 

The morning I left this tiny town and my new friend to hit the road and travel new pastures, M and I had a final cup of tea early that morning before the sun came up. This time, some black loose leaf tea from her sister. It was strong and verged on bitter but not in the manner that one would find displeasing. It was a perfect representation of what had occurred over the past few days. First strangers, then friends, and now forever sisters. 

Strongly brewed "Oolong Tea" sisters.

I share this story because it inspires my next project. Tea may historically have many meanings. You may even think the Boston Tea Party and political rebellion. But tea, from the Camellia plant, is peaceful and beautiful and symbolic. And I think tea is something that is forever meant to be shared. 

Some tea inspired art work that I share today with you: 

I encourage all you tea drinkers to share tea with someone in your life. It may be by sending a tea bag in the mail. Or maybe you invite someone into your kitchen for a cup. Maybe you meet at a local Starbucks. Or maybe you find some artistic inspiration and create something magical. 

I propose a swap of kindness and tea for the sake of this project....

Wouldn't something tea related make someone really happy? So lets find 5 people who would really appreciate this and send them something tea related! Who knows, maybe one of you is about to receive some tea art from me :) 

spread the love and then share with me what you've done! Nothing makes me happier than to know that at any moment someone is showing kindness to someone else. 

Sharing tea is great way to show your companionship to someone else. Because what happens when you're drinking tea? You talk, you listen, you laugh, sometimes cry and you share moments. 

I love sharing moments. I plan on sharing a lot more "tea" moments right here :) More Tea Art to come!!

BPositve and B A Strong Friend


Monday, February 7, 2011

Unexpected Inspiration

I've been really excited about the feedback I've gotten on the first part of my project (although I'm feeling anxious because I don't know yet what the next step will be!) There are a lot of people tagged in the "You R Enough" picture on facebook which I hope has given people a positive message to take home with them for that day and beyond.

Today I got an unexpected box of inspiration from my friend R.
Fabric scraps, art materials for my art stash, a fishy pin cushion!

More art stash stuff, magazine, book, fun, fun, fun!

R is not only my friend, but also my other half in many ways. We haven't been friends for a long, long time but it seems that we were raised in similar ways, developed freakishly similar tastes and habits, and grew to the exact same height (a whopping 4' 11" and 3/4 although we would both claim it to really be 5') We share a love for crafting, creating, sharing what we make with others, loving the environment, looking at all things beautiful and of course watching our 10 seasons of friends DVD's. I'm so thankful for this box of inspiration today. I was feeling unsure of myself and my project. Like I'd gotten myself into something that I didn't how to complete. But this box from R reminded me that sometimes we have to take the step even before we know exactly what will come next. And those steps should reflect who we are inside. In this case, her colorful package represents my creativity perfectly.

I used to always live my life by planning out every step of the way before even executing the very first action. This often lead to major procrastination and delayed starts. It also took the fun and excitement out of doing something adventurous! Last Thursday I had the idea to create a picture titled "You R Enough" and I wanted to share with with people in any way that I could. I'm proud to say that it's helped me see that I am enough as well. My efforts, my skills, my love to share and create is all enough just the way it is.

Adventures like this can be scary because the outcome is unknown and the path is a little dark. But I'm finding that when you're on a path that feels so right inside of you, it becomes brighter and more colorful. My path is so colorful today. I still can't see the end of the road but I see fabric scraps and yarn and paper and glue and beads and other items that I can create with! Thanks R!

I also realize that "You R Enough" can't just be a picture. And it can't just be something that gets sent to people. It can't just be something that gives someone a minutes of self reflection. "You R Enough" has to help me drive forward into whatever is next to come.

Realizing that I am enough, just the way that I am has given me strength. I took the time to take an inspiring idea, execute it and share with a lot of people even though I wasn't sure the idea was completely thought out yet. That was so scary and so thrilling all at once. But, by actually doing it. By crafting my sign, taking the photo, and sharing it with all of you, I put a lot of trust in myself. And I think I'm learning that I'm not just trusting myself. I'm letting go of the control that I hold onto so tightly and trusting that God is helping me find my path.

I don't know what the next chapter will be, but I know there will be a next chapter! And it's a brighter chapter. I may be walking without the end in site, but it may not be in the dark anymore. I feel a shift and I'm really excited about it.

So whatever chapter 2 is going to be, I promise it will be directly from my heart. And there's no faking that!

BPositive and BTrusting of Who You Are


Sunday, February 6, 2011

You Are Enough continues

Hi everyone. Just an update. I am trying to tag at least 5 people a day in the "You R Enough" photo on my facebook. So feel free to facebook me and start tagging!

BPositive and BLoving


Saturday, February 5, 2011

You Are Enough

I am not much of a poet. Poetry is amazing to me. M is so amazing with her words, symbolism, and alliterations. She weaves words that have never before sat together in a sentence. It never ceases to astound me and inspire me and make me feel like creating my own poetry. But alas, nothing.

But, I realized that I make poetry in a different way. I create art work, I write stories, I recount happenings, I cook, I makes gifts and cards for people... And all these things are satisfying. Writing this blog is more satisfying than I could ever explain. So I create in the ways that I know best and I share in the mediums that make sense in my mind. So today I'd like to begin sharing with you, the way M shares her poetry.

So here we go...

I am beginning a project (nerves in my stomach as I even write these words!)  A project in which I want to include anyone who wants to follow. I am constantly blessed with people in my life who take the time to tell me that I am special, I am beautiful and I am enough just as I am. But I often struggle to accept these blessings. I graciously accept them from the sender, but in my heart I wonder if I am worthy.

I got an unexpected and wonderful message just today that just fueled the fire more to get this project moving. Because when these kinds of words are given to you, there's an immediate need to give back in a similar fashion. But ultimately what this message from this old friend showed me was that regardless of what I write, what I create, where I live, what job I have, or how long it's been since two friends had a conversation, I AM ENOUGH just the way that I am.

I really wanted to share this with everyone because I feel like this is something we don't give ourselves credit for. We take journeys, learn lessons, build relationships, and work very hard at many aspects of our lives but we seem to be very hard on ourselves sometimes, and often come up short of our expectations.

I am going to post a series of entries on the BPositive blog. Each entry will focus on a specific qualities that I see in people everyday that I think should be shouted out to the world. There will be a picture with a phrase and perhaps some art work and whatever else might ensue. This is actually all a little unknown and new to me! And although I'm not sure how this will all turn out, I am excited. It's unknown and it makes me excited. I encourage thoughts, comments, ideas, poetry, art, pictures, stories, and anything else that you have that I can't even fathom. In fact if there is something that you'd like added to a blog post you can e mail ( it to me in private and I'd be happy to add it anonymously if you don't want to do a comment

I'm going to be posting this image (and other images as this project grows) on e mail, facebook walls, and other places as a way to tell people that they are enough just the way they are. And if you feel like there is someone in your life who should get that photo and that message I encourage you to do the same! Feel free to save the picture and send it to others.

You Are Enough 

So installment #1 of empowering and loving the people in our life who deserve it begins here. It's going to be a fun journey. I can feel it!!!!

BPositive and BEncouraging


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Walking in the Dark: Positive or Terrifying?

From an early age, our time is allotted for us in a calculated way, using, seasons, vacations and holidays as time pieces in our yearly calendar. We start the school year, looking forward to new beginnings, embracing the “uncertainty” that gives us a feeling of excitement and exhilaration. By mid semester we feel the need for vacation. Right on cue, here comes Thanksgiving and then the winter holidays! Sick and tired of winter sluggishness by mid January, we wait and wait and wait for spring (and as a true New Englander’s takes a while!) We get psyched up again for a spring semester filled with the promise of new classes, lessons, projects, and teachers. Finally, the oh so, exciting summer pokes it’s head into our spring awakening and we get that fever for heat, vacation, and time away from anything stress related...and then...Come know the drill! You, like me, have been trained relentlessly in this monotony!  It’s fall again! Yay for new and exciting “uncertainty!” From the day we start Kindergarten to the day we graduate high school, college, or graduate school, we willfully follow this patterns in complete and blissful oblivion. It’s not our fault. It’s how we were raised. But I’m here to challenge it. I like to challenge things that are so called “set in stone.”

My little sister and I right before a first day of school! I sit today at the ripe old age of 25 (I know I hear the laughter) and everything around me is dark. I’m not talking “evil” dark or “dismal” dark, just dark. Uncertain might be the optimal word. I managed to hang onto my happy seasonal pattern even till this very year, actually. But now, I have released it. And I’m wondering if it was the right decision....

Three and a half years ago, I took a job out of college and was able to craft a system for myself that felt comfortable. I’ll stay for a certain period of time, and then I’ll take an exciting and exploratory trip. Then I’ll make sure I get some comfort from home for a while and when I get antsy again, I’ll go back out and explore. I’ll just never sit down long enough to feel the discomfort of being stuck in one place. I’ll always allot for fall to be a time of new beginnings, winter to be about family, comfort and a little gluttony, and summer to be about exploring and allowing some risk to seep into my otherwise settled life. I even had a motto that I lived by when I was in college: I’d be 100% ok with settling into my small New England state if I could travel all over the world and just leave whenever I felt like I needed to. And as exciting as that sounds, it’s actually not at all what I want. It’s not freedom! It’s being “stuck” somewhere and always having the option to escape. And I refuse to become a professional escape artist!

I’ve abolished my previous “motto” and I’ve embarked on a new journey. But it’s freaking dark here! And you can imagine how it feels to sit in the dark. Technically, it’s winter, but only in appearance and weather. I don’t see spring, I don’t see summer, I don’t see next fall. (I know I have a future, I’m not hopeless, but I can’t see it.) All I can see with my little flashlight is one tiny step in front of my current standing point. Just enough light to allow me to safely step without tripping and falling (although there is always the occasional stumble) With my old patterns engrained in my being, I wonder almost daily, is this a positive thing? Or is this utterly terrifying?

I’ll get straight to the point. On one hand, I am completely living in the present, tackling just one action at a time, and totally remaining focused. On the other hand, I’m FREAKING OUT!

So I’m in a pickle of sorts. I understand that my actions lead to reactions. I see that there has been history of certain actions leading to certain reactions. I’ve watched other people take particular actions that lead to particular reactions. But I can’t see the results for myself. I’m totally blind to it, because for me, it’s never been done. For other people, it has been. So I know it’s possible. But is it possible for me?

So what am I supposed to do? I’ve been trained to wait for the next thing to happen. I’ve always been able to see spring and summer and the new school year. But here I am and I see nothing! Will I still be living in Springfield 6 months from now? Will my circle of friends remain exactly the same, by this time next year? Will this be the work I am doing in 8 months? Will I own a house in 2 years? What is going to happen when it’s fall and the summer is over? WHEN DOES THE SCHOOL YEAR BEGIN?

The answer is it doesn’t. It’s not real. The school year, the fresh start, the clean slate, the new teachers, the new clothes, the fancy school supplies, the fall, when it all begins is not real. We’ve made it real. But it’s a concept like anything else. We put value into it as a group and we’ve created something that may have never been otherwise. Why don’t we start school on May 7th? Why isn’t that the school year’s beginning? Either way, it doesn’t matter. We have to stop waiting for the beginnings and the ends and the events that supposedly represent when we start and stop our actions. We must always act now. We must always be here in the present. Even if it means being in the dark sometimes...

I’m not suggesting we walk blindly, because we always have the option of using a light. Sometimes, we ourselves are the light, pushing ourselves through the tasks. Sometimes God is the light, helping us with the burdens. Sometimes a friend is the light, listening and understanding and helping us through the hard steps.

My husband has a symbolic way of describing this concept. I give him full credit for this. He says: These dark times often feel like you are falling. Falling, perhaps into what seems like an infinite well. You look down, and see nothing. You pray for a safe landing, looking for the end of the agonizing anticipation. The uncertainty can sometimes feel eternal. But suddenly your feet (and admittedly sometimes your butt, cause we do fall on that now and again) touch the ground. We look up to see how far we’ve come and it’s so bright up there that it’s actually illuminating everything around us. The formerly dark surroundings are now bright and clear and completely visible. And we’re no longer in the dark. But could we have ever seen this well in its current luminescent state if we stayed at the top?

The top is where we stand safely in our school-year calendar. We start when we are told to start. We vacation when we are told to vacation. We celebrate when we are told to celebrate. We think about jumping down the well at certain times but often we don’t. Sometimes we even stumble too close to the well and fall, accidentally learning some incredible lesson. But we need to be able to jump willingly into the darkness and have some faith in what we have decided. Keep doing the actions even when you can’t see the exact ending. It’s not going to happen “next fall” or “in the spring” or “just after the holidays.” We have to stop waiting and do something now! Even though it’s dark. The floor will be there every time. And the light will always come. I promise. So, stop waiting and start navigating!

Just don’t forget your flashlight ;)

BPositive BtheChange