Shaddap You Face

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Why some people think that it’s okay to express their opinions whether they are wanted or not is completely beyond me – I don’t get it. Personally, I wait until I’m asked to offer my little nuggets o’wisdom up – and if I’m not asked, I keep my mouth shut. Why? Because I’m not pompous enough to think that the rest of the world gives a shit about my opinions – I figure if they want/need to know, they will ask. Until then? I shut up and keep it to myself.

However, I have noticed over the years that I am amongst the minority with this one…very few people know how to be quiet and keep their opinions to themselves. I don’t get it – but it’s absolutely true. Everywhere I go these days, it seems that someone I encounter feels it is their God-given right to spout words about what I’m doing/wearing/eating/drinking/being…and it’s ridiculous. What made them think that this kind of behavior is okay? I somehow manage to resist the urge to comment on their appalling fashion choices or charisma-bypass procedure, so why can’t they shut up about the width of my arse/my lipstick color?I don’t get it.

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I believe in my heart that what other people think of me is absolutely NONE of my business. However, it kind of becomes my business when someone takes it upon themselves to tell me – and this is where things get tricky. Very rarely these days do people stop you to tell you how wonderful you are, or how clever and witty they think you are. I wish more of that happened – but sadly it does not. (NOTE: It totally should – there’s your homework assignment for today, friends – go find someone and tell them how wonderful you think they are. It’ll make their day. :-) ) Instead, what seems to be commonplace now is people giving you their unsolicited opinions about the things that you do wrong, or the things that they perceive to  be wrong with your appearance. Why? Many of them claim that they do this because they want to ‘help’ you – I call bullshit on that. They don’t want to help you. They want to somehow build themselves up by putting you down….and that is crap. All that this does is make you feel bad, and pretty much ruin your day. Gross.

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Instead of going around ruining each other’s days, why don’t we celebrate the things that make all of us unique? How about we focus on improving the quality of our own lives, doing the things that make us feel so awesome that we don’t need to put anyone else down? I’m so on board with this idea…let’s all give it a shot, and see if we can’t get a movement going. Here’s a list – 30 Small Things I Do Every Day That Improves the Quality of My Life – to get you started:

1. Drink a cup of coffee or tea. The caffeine will help to give you a much-needed boost – and it is pretty delicious too!
2. Wake up earlier. Set your alarm to go off quarter of an hour before you normally get up. This extra 15 minutes will help make your morning less stressful, and you will able to have a more organized and productive day.

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3. Clean out your email. Delete all of your spam emails and the ones you don’t need. Decluttering will make you more organized while helping you to keep on top of work.

4. Make a friend smile. Send them a funny video online, or text them to see how they are doing. Making someone else’s day is a sure-fire way to guarantee your day being great too.

5. Read the newspaper. Keeping up with world events will stimulate your mind and help you to gain new perspectives.
6. Hug someone you are close to. From your child to your partner to your sister, having a good old hug will improve your mood and mental state. This is also a great way to keep your relationships healthy and happy, too!

7. Have a quick tidy up if you have a few spare minutes. It will barely feel like tidying, but your mind will thank you for making the environment tidier and more pleasant.

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8. Write a diary entry or a blog post. Many people find writing cathartic, and it can help you to process your own emotions and feelings. This is also a great way to keep your brain sharp!

9. Smile at the first stranger you see. This will put a smile on their face and leave you feeling warm inside!

10. Raise your heart rate. From a brisk walk to a session in the gym, exercise stimulates your body and mind, leaving you feeling generally more energetic and improving your mood.

11. Take a walk. Being outside will raise your mood and it can calm you down if you are feeling stressed or worried.
12. Carry a bottle of water with you. Water is one of the best drinks for your body, and it will improve your health, your skin and your mind – perfect!

13. Look through old photographs. Reliving old memories will put a smile on your face, and you will feel grateful for the wonderful people in your life.

14. Write down three things you are thankful for each day. This will help you to appreciate all of the brilliant people and things you have in your life.

15. Put some laundry on. No-one likes doing laundry, but the feeling of accomplishment afterwards is much better for your mind than the negative feeling of putting it off.

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16. Read a chapter of a book you love, or a new book. This will help to both lift your mood and relax you – a twofer!
17. Have a meaningful conversation. After a day of work and chores, it is important to feel like your day was important and meaningful – and one of the easiest ways to do this is to sit down with someone interesting and chew the fat.

18. Listen to music. Put on an upbeat album you love, and after a few tracks you will notice yourself humming, smiling and dancing – all indicators of a great mood.

19. Light a candle when you get home from work. The appearance and smell of a candle will help you to relax and wind down.
20. Eat at least one healthy meal, with fruit and vegetables. The healthy food will give both your body and your mind energy – and you’ll feel great for choosing the healthy option.

21. Listen to something that makes you think. From the radio on the way home to a podcast you like, this will stimulate your brain and get your mind thinking about different things.

22. Do something nice for someone else. Mentally fulfilled people think about other’s needs as often as their own, and simply offering a co-worker a word of encouragement will help you to feel more positive.

23. Spend some time with the people you live with. From family to housemates, this will make you feel more connected to the people you share your life with – and it is a really fun way to wind down!

24. Have a drink you love with your lunch. Lunch can feel like a hurried affair, so make the effort to bring a drink you love to savour, whether that is a comforting latte or a healthy berry smoothie.

25. Do the washing up before you go to bed. The next morning will be much more pleasant and relaxed if you don’t have to start the day with yesterday’s chores.

26. Put on an outfit you love. If you feel great on the outside, you will start to feel pretty good on the inside too – trust me!
27. Speak to someone who lives far away. From your parents to a friend who moved away, this will make you feel proactive – and no doubt they will really appreciate you calling them!

28. Spend five minutes alone. If you feel life starting to get on top of you take a break and spend a minutes alone. After this reflection time you will feel noticeably calmer and more relaxed.

29. Take a long bath or shower before you sleep. You will go to bed feeling clean and relaxed, helping you to get a great night’s sleep.

30. Make sure you get eight hours sleep. Everything is more difficult and stressful when you’re tired – get a head start on this and make sure you are refreshed for a productive and fun day!

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Good list, eh? Thanks, Lifehack! I highlighted my favorites in bold, but I think the whole list is a pretty good one. I think that it has become too common in today’s world to shit all over the people around us as a way to make ourselves feel better…which is  the absolute stupidest thing ever. If we focused more on making our own lives rich and full of happiness, we wouldn’t feel the need to stick our noses into the goings on of others. You do you, and I do me. It’s a beautiful thing, friends….let’s try. :-)

xxx

 

PS: The next time you find yourself offering your unsolicited opinion to someone around you, stop and take a deep breath…think carefully about what you’re about to say. If your words could possibly hurt, just shaddup you face. 😉

 

Jealousy

I hate feeling jealous. I hate the fact that somebody else has something that I don’t (but that I apparently want badly enough to feel the feels), and I hate feeling resentment towards other people. Life is too damn short, friends. However, I feel jealous of other people all the damn time – and I’ve got to work on this. How do you handle the green-eyed monster?

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I am a regular reader of Gala Darling’s site, and I like (and agree with) a lot of what she has to say. She recently posted about the common phenomenon of women not feeling happy for other women – which is somethat I find troubling. I know that there have been times when others have shared their good news with me and I have been anything but happy….which is very shitty of me. I should never begrudge someone else’s joy simply because that particular ship hasn’t come in for me – how small-minded and petty of me. Ick. I know better. Read what Gala said about this:

I’ve been thinking a lot about business frenemies. There are a lot of people who seem to be on your team on an everyday basis, but when things get really good, it’s fascinating to see how things unravel.

One of the easiest frenemy tests is to see how people respond when you tell them some amazing news. It’s not just whether they are happy for you or not. Their response can be one of four categories: passive destructive (they ignore the news), active destructive (they diminish the news), passive constructive (they acknowledge the news half-heartedly), or active constructive (they engage wholeheartedly). It’s a fascinating topic.

Feeling jealous or envious of another woman’s success is an indication of your subconscious beliefs. If you feel slighted when someone else does well, that shows that you have a mindset of scarcity. You believe that if she is successful, you can’t be. It indicates that you think there is not enough money, opportunity, customers, love, or attention to go around.

I believe the opposite. I believe that when my sister succeeds, knocks it out of the park, or has a massive professional triumph, that lifts all of us higher!

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Jealousy can be a gift: it shows us what we want from our own lives. Sometimes what we want is buried so far beneath the surface that jealousy is the only thing that coaxes it out. Let’s be real though — jealousy never feels like a gift. It feels like hell. And it doesn’t just feel bad: it keeps us stuck.

Obsessing over what someone else is doing is a distraction. You can’t move your own life forward when you’re constantly looking over your shoulder to see what everyone else is up to. In order to change your life and move dramatically onward, you need to enlist laser focus and stay on your grind!

Society tells us to be in constant competition with each other. Who’s skinniest? Who’s wealthiest? Who’s got a more perfect-looking life? None of that stuff matters. While we’re busy squabbling amongst ourselves, we’re still earning 70 cents to every dollar a man gets for the same work. Let’s not kid ourselves: we have bigger problems than who can fit into a smaller dress size.

As I say in my book…

“We are constantly being taught to see women as competition, rather than people who need you and can make your life better. Make the mental leap, and fuck the status quo! We are so much more powerful when we’re together!” — Radical Self Love: A Guide to Loving Yourself and Living Your Dream

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The key to getting unstuck in your own life is to learn how to become wildly excited for your friend’s success. Recognise that there is no lack, no scarcity: if she can do it, so can you! Use your jealousy and see what it’s telling you. Ask yourself what you can learn from what your friend did. Success is never about “luck”: it’s a result of knowledge and concerted effort. Those things are totally within reach!

When you can be happy when you see other women who are slaying it, you know that you’re on the right track.

Remember, too, that you never know exactly what is going on in someone’s life. They may be getting married but their career is a wreck; their mother might be terminally ill; they may be dealing with a crisis of faith underneath that perfectly-applied red lipstick.

Have compassion for others as well as for yourself. You are exactly where you need to be, right in this moment. Accept all of that, and recommit yourself to your dreams!

I love you (and I’m cheering for you!)

 

 

I really really love this: Jealousy can be a gift: it shows us what we want from our own lives. This is so profound I can hardly stand it…it’s one of those things that hit me like a ton of bricks. If this is the case, then here are the things that I want: a happy and fulfilling relationship, more time with my Wee One, more time away from work to do the things that I enjoy doing…and just more pleasure and happiness in my life. I guess it all comes down to this simple idea: I want more of what I want to do, and less of what I have to do. Pretty simple, yes? These are the things that I envy in other people – those who have nothing but time to do what they fancy, those who have every day of their life surrounded by people who love them…that’s what I want. I mostly feel happy for the joy of others these days, but…I have the odd moment where I am left thinking, ‘Why them? Why not me?’ I should be thinking, ‘Why not them! Maybe someday me!’ and be happy about their success, instead of wondering when it will be my turn. Because it will, you know…someday it will be my turn to get all of those things that I want most out of life. Someday. :-)

xxxx

Thinkin’ About You

I subscribe to the Lifehack newsletter, and get all sorts of gems from them each day – this is one of my recent favorites. If you’ve been reading ’round these parts for awhile, you will know that I care very little what other people think of me – I figure that it’s none of my business. Instead, I try every day to be a brave little toaster, to forge my own path, and to just go on with my bad self. Here’s some words of wisdom I wanted to share with you about that:

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  1. “The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages.” ― Virginia Woolf

  2. “A dame that knows the ropes isn’t likely to get tied up.” ― Mae West
  3. “You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be. It’s their mistake, not my failing.” ― Richard P. Feynman
  4. “Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.”—Lao Tzu
  5. “Never dull your shine for somebody else.” ― Tyra Banks (Preach that one, Ms Tyra!!!!)

  6. “If being an egomaniac means I believe in what I do and in my art or music, then in that respect you can call me that… I believe in what I do, and I’ll say it.” ― John Lennon
  7. “I do not care so much what I am to others as I care what I am to myself.” ― Michel de Montaigne
  8. “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”— Dr. Seuss
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  10. “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will. “― Suzy Kassem
  11. “Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”— Oscar Wilde
  12. “Some people say, “Never let them see you cry.” I say, if you’re so mad you could just cry, then cry. It terrifies everyone.” ― Tina Fey
  13. “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.”— Albert Einstein
  14. “Some people say you are going the wrong way, when it’s simply a way of your own.”— Angelina Jolie
  15. “I don’t care what you think about me. I don’t think about you at all.”— Coco Chanel (Love this!!!)
  16. “Don’t worry about who doesn’t like you, who has more, or who’s doing what.” ― Erma Bombeck
  17. “There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.” ― Marianne Williamson
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  19. “Believe in yourself and there will come a day when others will have no choice but to believe with you.” ― Cynthia Kersey

  20. “No name-calling truly bites deep unless, in some dark part of us, we believe it. If we are confident enough then it is just noise.” ― Laurell K. Hamilton
  21. “When it comes down to it, I let them think what they want. If they care enough to bother with what I do, then I’m already better than them.” ― Marilyn Monroe
  22. “Don’t waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions; go over, under, through, and opinions will change organically when you’re the boss. Or they won’t. Who cares? Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.” ― Tina Fey
  23. I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.” ― Charlotte Brontë

  24. “I want to be around people that do things. I don’t want to be around people anymore that judge or talk about what people do. I want to be around people that dream and support and do things.” ― Amy Poehler (YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
  25. “You probably wouldn’t worry about what people think of you if you could know how seldom they do.” ― Olin Miller
  26. “There is nothing more attractive than confidence, once she sees her own beauty, everyone else will.” ― Habeeb Akande
  27. “Few and mean as my gifts may be, I actually am, and do not need for my own assurance or the assurance of my fellows any secondary testimony.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
  28. “People who repeatedly attack your confidence and self-esteem are quite aware of your potential, even if you are not.” ― Wayne Gerard Trotman
  29. “So many people along the way, whatever it is you aspire to do, will tell you it can’t be done. But it all it takes is imagination. You dream. You plan. You reach.”― Michael Phelps
  30. “Well, laddie, if you’ve let an old buzzard like me hurt your confidence, you couldn’t have had much in the first place.” ― Tamora Pierce

  31. “Most people just want to see you fall, that’s more reason to stand tall.” ― Emma Michelle
  32. “There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” ― Aristotle
  33. “He thinks himself rather an exceptional young man, thoroughly sophisticated, well adjusted to his environment, and somewhat more significant than any one else he knows.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald
  34. “When I was growing up I always wanted to be someone. Now I realize I should have been more specific.” ― Lily Tomlin
  35. “One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.” ― Sigmund Freud
  36. “My dear, I don’t give a damn.” ― Margaret Mitchell

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Aren’t these fabulous?? I think so, too! Give ’em a read, go over the list a second and third time, and let those words soak into that beautiful brain of yours. Good stuff! :)

xxx

Let’s Make a Deal

Are you a planner? I sure am – it’s probably one of my most annoying qualities. I can’t help it, though….I like to make the most of the time that I have (in a day, and here on earth), so I do my best to schedule things and fill it up with stuff that matters. Someone asked me recently (while scoffing at the calendar that was open on my desk and the kajillion obligations that I have coming up in the next two months) what I had planned for the next 20 years. I laughed and started to tell her that she was a jackass for mocking me – but then I stopped. Hmm. She made a good point. Where do I want to be in 20 years?

This. :-)

This. :-)

In 20 years from now, I will  be 61 years old. Holy shit. No doubt I will still be cute as hell, and my rack will still be awesome (please don’t interrupt with a dose of reality – I’m not interested). I will still be working in Education in some capacity, but hopefully at that point, I will be about 5 years from retirement. (Fun fact – if I retire at the age of 66, I will have worked in this industry for 46 years. Yikes.) My Wee One won’t be so wee anymore – she will be 28 years old, and probably working on building a life of her own. I hope that she will still want to hold hands and be best friends with me – I guess time will tell on that one. :-) I want to have made some of the trips that I have on my list (I’m looking at you, Bali!), and I want to have learned how to paint (art, not walls). I want to have learned to speak one other language, and I hope to have mastered the bagpipes by then. I know that I won’t have cured cancer or the common cold, and I know that I won’t have done something so amazing that Diane Sawyer calls for an interview, but…I’d like to have made some contribution to the world that left it a little better than I found it. I hope I can figure out what that is. :-)

I want to be living in a home that I love, one that is full of warmth, laughter, and love. Bonus points if it’s paid off by then!!! :-) I don’t want to be living alone anymore – I’ve done that, and I don’t choose to live out my days that way. I want to spend my time in the company of those that appreciate me, not tolerate me – again, I’ve done that long enough, not doing it anymore. I want to still feel well enough physically to enjoy life, and I’d really, really like it if I could finally find some relief and peace from the constant agony that is my left arm (which is hurting like a mo’fo these days). I want to not have to worry about money anymore – I don’t expect that I will be rollin’ like a rock star (although I believe in my heart that I would truly excel at that type of life), but I do want to live comfortably, and not have to worry. That would be nice. :-)

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Most of all, I want to be happy. I want to look around me and feel joy at what I see. I don’t want to feel annoyed, and I sure as hell don’t want to become one of those people that complains ALL THE DAMN TIME. I really dislike that quality in others, and I certainly don’t care to try it out myself. Ick. I’ve worked so hard in recent years to adopt an attitude of gratitude as I go about my days, and that is something that I really want to see continue. There’s a lot of great things in this world – it’s my duty to appreciate each and every one of them. :-) I have spent a fair bit of time lately focusing on doing more of the things that make me happy – I’ve not been working quite as much, I have been saying no to things I don’t want to do, and I’ve made spending time with those that I care about a real priority. I’ve met some amazing new people, and actually taken the time to live like a normal person with a social life and everything….it’s been great!! I’ve been watching all of the hockey playoff games (which you know makes this Canuck happy), and the time that I’ve spent cuddling on the couch with hockey and wine has been some of the best moments that I have had in years. See how little it actually takes to make me truly happy? :-)

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I’ve also been making plans for the summer, which I’m SO excited about! I’m really looking forward to a few weeks off work, taking a couple of trips, and spending time with the people that I love. :-) I’m also looking forward to spending an entire day in bed, and not putting pants on unless I have to go to the store for supplies (it’s good to have dreams). I want to go kayaking, sit outside and enjoy some (a lot of) wine, swim, and just be happy. It’s going to be GREAT. :-)

 

I came across this article on Lifehack today, and it made me smile – 40 Little Things in Daily Life That Bring Us True Happiness. :-)

1. Finding money in your pocket that you didn’t know you had.

2. Being asked by someone who cares how you are doing.

3. Climbing into bed when you have fresh sheets.

4. Taking an extra-long bath or shower when you have some free time.

5. Smiling at a child you see in public.

6. Receiving a 10 minute massage from your partner or friend.

7. Cuddling someone before you have to get up and start your day.

8. Waking up and realizing it is a sunny, beautiful day.

9. Having a long phone conversation with someone you care about and haven’t spoken to in a while.

10. Watching the rain fall when you have nowhere to be, and you can curl up on the sofa.

11. Watching children playing and laughing together, reminding you of the joy in the world.

12. Spending some time with your pets – or animals in general!

13. A stranger giving you a genuine smile.

14. Having a nice, long stretch when you first wake up to get your body moving.

15. Laughing out loud at a funny memory.

16. A gesture of kindness from someone in your life – as simple as your child helping you cook dinner.

17. A smell you love, from baked bread to a freshly mowed lawn.

18. A meaningful, long hug from somebody you care about.

19. Putting on clothes after they have been warmed on the radiator.

20. Taking a few moments alone when things get hectic.

21. Watching the sunset or the sunrise.

22. The smell outside after the rain has stopped.

23. Listening to your favorite artist or album.

24. Receiving an email or a letter from a friend.

25. The chance to be creative, from painting an old set of drawers to doodling a picture.

26. Holding hands with someone you love.

27. Eating your breakfast in bed.

28. Playing a game you used to love when you were younger.

29. Eating healthy, tasty food that makes you feel good about yourself.

30. An extra half an hour to snooze in bed.

31. Having some time to yourself to read a book you love.

32. Buying your favorite drink or snack and savoring it.

33. Receiving flowers from someone who cares about you.

34. Eating your lunch outside in the sun.

35. Trying out a new recipe and creating something delicious.

36. A gesture of support from your friends or family.

37. Listening to a song you used to love and haven’t heard in years.

38. Taking the time to help someone with their problems.

39. Spending time in your home when it is tidy and clean.

40. Achieving a small victory, like fixing the washing machine or replacing a light bulb.

 

Great list, eh? I know! There is nothing on there that’s too revolutionary, but all really sweet, wonderful things that feel good. I think that’s the kind of life that I want to have in 20 years – it’s the kind of life that I want to have NOW. I want to spend my days revelling in the sweetness of the world around me. I’ve said before that life to me is like a beautiful summer peach…let’s all bite in, and let the juice run down our chins. Good deal? :-)

xxx

 

PS: This:

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Shake Your Tailfeathers

It became apparent a long time ago that I must not be a very easy person to love. I’m not high maintenance, my heart is most decidedly not black, I am not mean, I’m not cranky….none of that kind of thing – I’m just a different kind of kitten. Part of the problem is that I am a very creative person – my mind never stops going, I’m not known for my finely-tuned logic skills, and I’m also quite averse to seriousness (which is a polite way of saying that I am a raging jackass most of the time). I came across this article recently, and I absolutely LOVED it! Entitled “20 Things to Remember if You Love A Highly Creative Person”, it’s a great read. While I’d never be so pretentious to think of myself as being highly creative, I do think there’s some very decent advice for all of us on how to deal gently with each other – and, for those who may be interested, how to deal with me. :-) Happy reading! :-)

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1. They have a mind that never slows down.

The creative mind is a non-stop machine fueled by intense curiosity. There is no pause button and no way to power it down. This can be exhausting at times but it is also the source of some crazy fun activities and conversations. This is absolutely, 110% me – my bloody mind never stops (which is probably why I suffer from insomnia), I’m always thinking…I exhaust myself. The rest of the world must find me frustating!

2. They challenge the status quo.
Two questions drive every creative person more than any others: What if? and Why not? They question what everyone else takes at face value. While uncomfortable for those around them, it’s this ability that enables creatives to redefine what’s possible. I don’t do this so much, actually….I tend to go along with things outwardly, rarely pausing to rock the boat – but you should hear the revolutions I’m starting in my head!

3. They embrace their genius even if others don’t.
Creative individuals would rather be authentic than popular. Staying true to who they are, without compromise, is how they define success even if means being misunderstood or marginalized. This is ME!!! I don’t give a whooping funt about being popular or well-liked – I care far more about being me, and being true to me. I think I’m a pretty decent person – if others don’t get me, then that is their loss. Whatevah.

4. They have difficulty staying on task.
Highly creative people are energized by taking big mental leaps and starting new things. Existing projects can turn into boring slogs when the promise of something new and exciting grabs their attention. I am natually inclined to be this way, but years of conditioning has forced me to learn to stay on task, hyper-focus and finish the job at hand. If I didn’t have to worry about keeping my job, I’d probably be loopier than a shithouse rat!!

5. They create in cycles.

Creativity has a rhythm that flows between periods of high, sometimes manic, activity and slow times that can feel like slumps. Each period is necessary and can’t be skipped just like the natural seasons are interdependent and necessary. I can definitely relate to this – sometimes, my creative juices resemble the rushing waters of Niagara Falls, and I can’t get all of the ideas whirling in my head out quickly enough. Othertimes, it’s like the friggin’ Sahara around here…dryer than hell. Ebbs and flows, friends…ebbs and flows.

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6. They need time to feed their souls.
No one can drive cross-country on a single take of gas. In the same way, creative people need to frequently renew their source of inspiration and drive. Often, this requires solitude for periods of time. I am a girl who definitely requires ‘me’ time – I need to be left alone to read my favorite websites, slide through my Twitter feed, catch up on my favorite shows on my DVR…all of these things feed my creativity, they inspire me, they get me thinking, and they make me feel good. Does anything life-shattering ever happen after I watch the week’s worth of Jimmy Fallon on Saturday mornings? No. Does it make me feel as if I’m ready to take on the world and I am going to be okay after an exhausting week? Absolutely. Bring it on. :-)

7. They need space to create.
Having the right environment is essential to peak creativity. It may be a studio, a coffee shop, or a quiet corner of the house. Wherever it is, allow them to set the boundaries and respect them. I wish that I had a quiet space to work and think and just be, but I don’t. Instead, I set up shop on my bed most of the time (I got a new Casper mattress in December which is the friggin’ bomb of all time – seriously, it has been SUCH a game changer for me. Love it! :-) ), or I park it in the living room on the love seat, and get down to business. I used to love writing outside on my deck, but the yard is a shithole of a mess and I don’t have time nor arm power to clean it up, so…I’ve taken my show inside. :-( In other news, I’m currently holding auditions for intern yard boys/pool boys ( even though I don’t have a pool) – all interested applicants are encouraged to apply through the Comments section. 😉 PS: Shirts will be optional! 😉

8. They focus intensely.
Highly creative people tune the entire world out when they’re focused on work. They cannot multi-task effectively and it can take twenty minutes to re-focus after being interrupted, even if the interruption was only twenty seconds. This is partly me – I am a focusing fool….but I can multitask with the best of them. I think it must be the years of conditioning in the work place -plus the fact that I’m a girl. 😉

9. They feel deeply.
Creativity is about human expression and communicating deeply. It’s impossible to give what you don’t have, and you can only take someone as far as you have gone yourself. A writer once told me that an artist must scream at the page if they want a whisper to be heard. In the same way, a creative person must feel deep if they are to communicate deeply.  I can definitely relate to this one…I feel all the feels, all the time. When I get my feelings hurt, it cuts me to the core. When I care for someone, I love them with all of my heart and want to build a shrine in their honor on the regular. I spout love declarations, I sing their praises, I compose them bad love poems – the whole nine yards. When it comes to feelings, I am a believer in the ‘go big or go home’ philosophy. This probably explains why I’ve been hurt/shattered so damn many times. Oh well….nothing ventured, nothing gained.

10. They live on the edge of joy and depression.
Because they feel deeply, highly creative people often can quickly shift from joy to sadness or even depression. Their sensitive heart, while the source of their brilliance, is also the source of their suffering. I don’t suffer from depression – I get sad and bummed, of course, but I generally try to keep that in and hide it from the world. However, thankfully, my moments of melancholy are mostly few and far between. I said to someone recently, as I was pissed off and ranting and raving like a lunatic, that I work so hard all of the time at keeping my feelings between the lines, keeping everything on a real even keel…never allowing myself to swing to extremes. Why? Why do I feel that I have to do that? I suppose it’s the years of my mother telling me to tone it down, to stop every time that I showed any extreme of any sort – she still does it, in fact. I’m 41 years old…perhaps it’s time for her to realize that the ship has sailed???!  There are days when I would like to just let’er rip, show all of my feelings and emotions to everyone around me, whether they asked for it or not. I can’t imagine the carnage that I’d leave behind! 😉

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11. They think and speak in stories.
Facts will never move the human heart like storytelling can. Highly creative people, especially artists, know this and weave stories into everything they do. It takes longer for them to explain something, explaining isn’t the point. The experience is.  I don’t know if I am a good storyteller, or if people think I am boring as shit and wish I’d shut the hell up when I talk….I hope that I am interesting. :-)

12. They battle Resistance every day.
Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, writes:

“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”

Highly creative people wake up every morning, fully aware of the need to grow and push themselves. But there is always the fear, Resistance as Pressfield calls it, that they don’t have what it takes. No matter how successful the person, that fear never goes away. They simply learn to deal with it, or not.  This is so me. Every day, I know where I want to be, the things that I want to do….but I seem to lack the knowledge of how to bridge the distance between the two. I certainly don’t lack the motivation, though…so perhaps some day I will figure it all out. :-)

13. They take their work personally.
Creative work is a raw expression of the person who created it. Often, they aren’t able to separate themselves from it, so every critique is seen either as a validation or condemnation of their self-worth. This is something that I struggle with…I take criticism very personally, which I really ought to get over. With the amount of shit and abuse I take from the world, you’d think I’d be better at it!

14. They have a hard time believing in themselves.
Even the seemingly self-confident creative person often wonders, Am I good enough? They constantly compare their work with others and fail to see their own brilliance, which may be obvious to everyone else. Amen. That’s all I’ve got to say about this one!!!

15. They are deeply intuitive.
Science still fails to explain the How and Why of creativity. Yet, creative individuals know instinctively how to flow in it time and again. They will tell you that it can’t be understood, only experienced firsthand. This is a weird thing that I go through all of the time…I get these wonky feelings about stuff, and I am usually right. I feel it in my gut, and there is little that I can do once that feeling settles in…I don’t understand. However, I am also the dimmest person in town about some things, and you damn near have to hit me over a head to catch on to them. Grr! I am maddening!!! :-(

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16. They often use procrastination as a tool.
Creatives are notorious procrastinators because many do their best work under pressure. They will subconsciously, and sometimes purposefully, delay their work until the last minute simply to experience the rush of the challenge. I’m funny about procrastination. I am SUCH a doer, 99.9% of the time – but there are a few things that I happily put off, hoping that perhaps a fairy will appear and take care of it (or the shirtless pool boy). Cleaning out my fridge is one of these things, cleaning the old toys and junk out of the upstairs of my house is another. I don’t know what the hell I’m waiting for with these two tasks, but I am clearly waiting for something!!

17. They are addicted to creative flow.
Recent discoveries in neuroscience reveal that “the flow state” might be the most addictive experience on earth. The mental and emotional payoff is why highly creative people will suffer through the highs and lows of creativity. It’s the staying power. In a real sense, they are addicted to the thrill of creating. I get this. I find painting to be the most thrilling activity around…and I’m NOT a good painter. However, the act of putting colorful blobs on a canvas and making something pretty makes my heart pound with excitement, and each time I do a painting class, I’m like an addict looking for another fix, checking the calendar to see when I can go back. Nutty!

18. They have difficulty finishing projects.
The initial stage of the creative process is fast moving and charged with excitement. Often, they will abandon projects that are too familiar in order to experience the initial flow that comes at the beginning. This is linked to my procrastination – I do finish things that I think are important, but…unpacking the last two boxes from when I moved in 7 years ago? Not important. Oops.

19. They connect dots better than others.
True creativity, Steve Jobs once said, is little more than connecting the dots. It’s seeing patterns before they become obvious to everyone else. This is me, I am this – I see patterns everywhere I look in the world around me. I see patterns in people’s behavior, I see connections between our actions, I see links all the time – whether they exist or not. I am a person who makes meaning from connecting to those around me…which is probably why I’m always trying to establish relationships with others.

20. They will never grow up.
Creatives long to see through the eyes of a child and never lose a sense of wonder. For them, life is about mystery, adventure, and growing young. Everything else is simply existing, and not true living. This is the essence of me…I live most days full of a childlike sense of awe and wonder, and I frequently have to stop what I’m doing to marvel at the world around me. I love to laugh, I love to have fun, and I love sharing those things with other people. I think the Wee One and I get along so well because we are very similar in our sense of glee…and I hope that never changes. Some people that I know have been OLD since they were 10 years old. I am not one of those people. I want to always feel the tingles of a new experience, and I actively combat cynicism and being jaded with all of my might. This doesn’t make me immature (much)…I think it makes me a lover of life. :-)

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Are you a creative bunny? Whether you are in love with a creative person or you are one yourself, embrace the qualities that make this kind of person so magical to be around….and try to love them in spite of these things. :-) Maybe, just maybe, you will learn to love them BECAUSE of these things – and that would be the very best of all. :-)

 

xxx

Happy Birthday! :)

Happy Birthday to my long term love William Shakespeare!! (it’s also the anniversary of his death, but….we don’t focus on the negative ’round these parts) Our love affair began with me reading “Romeo and Juliet” when I was 8 years old (and yes, naysayers, I totally understood it!)…and continues to this day. We get each other – it’s a pretty deep and real love thing. :)  To honor him, I give you some of his finest…. :)

 

 

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This this THIS :)

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Clearly Mr. Shakespeare knew some of the places I have worked over the years.... ;)

Clearly Mr. Shakespeare knew some of the places I have worked over the years…. ;)

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The wisest words of all :)

 

 

 

Happy Birthday, my love! :)

xxx

Ghost Town

Madonna released the video for her latest single ‘Ghost Town’ this week, and it’s pretty bloody stunning. Here’s a link for you to check it out….it’s beautiful. :-) ** Click on the image to see the video**

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Should you fancy a sing-along, here are the lyrics:

Maybe it was all too much
Too much for a man to take
Everything’s bound to break
Sooner or later, sooner or later

You’re all that I can trust
Facing the darkest days
Everyone ran away
We’re gonna stay here, we’re gonna stay here  

Ah, ah
I know you’re scared tonight
Ah, ah
I’ll never leave your side

When it all falls, when it all falls down
I’ll be your fire when the lights go out
When there’s no one, no one else around
We’ll be two souls in a ghosttown

When the world gets cold, I’ll be your cover
Let’s just hold onto each other
When it all falls, when it all falls down
We’ll be two souls in a ghosttown

Tell me how we got this far
Every man for himself
Everything’s gone to hell
We gotta stay strong, we’re gonna hold on

This world has turned to dust
All we’ve got left is love
Might as well start with us
Singing a new song, something to build on

Ah, ah
I know you’re scared tonight
Ah, ah
I’ll never leave your side

When it all falls, when it all falls down
I’ll be your fire when the lights go out
When there’s no one, no one else around
We’ll be two souls in a ghosttown

When the world gets cold, I’ll be your cover
Let’s just hold onto each other
When it all falls, when it all falls down
We’ll be two souls in a ghosttown

I know we’re alright
‘Cause we’ll never be alone in this mad mad, in this mad mad world
Even with no light
We’re gonna shine like gold in this mad mad, in this mad mad world

When it all falls, when it all falls down
I’ll be your fire when the lights go out
When there’s no one, no one else around
We’ll be two souls in a ghosttown

When it all falls, when it all falls down
I’ll be your fire when the lights go out
When there’s no one, no one else around
We’ll be two souls in a ghosttown

When the world gets cold, I’ll be your cover
Let’s just hold onto each other
When it all falls, when it all falls down
We’ll be two souls in a ghosttown
When it all falls, when it all falls down
We’ll be two souls in a ghosttown


This song is just gorgeous…and a beautiful sentiment as well. It’s kind of the musical equivalent of relationship goals, eh? Think about it – when things go bad, I will be your fire when the lights go out; when it’s cold out I will be your cover, let’s just hold on to each other…when there is nobody else around, we will be two souls together. I LOVE it. :-) It’s amazing. :-)

I was asked recently what I thought relationships should be – my answer was not words (for a change), but this image:

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This is really it, isn’t it? Someone who wants your company, thinks you’re the best, and wants to shag only you. Sounds pretty straightforward – and great – to me. :-) I was listening to an acquaintance describe a man that we know in common, and he described him in the most elegant and tragic way – he said that he was a “seeker of lost souls”. I can’t stop thinking about that sentence….because I think that is me. I have always been drawn to strays (animals and humans), those that are down on their luck, those that are unavailable, those that are inappopriate choices….the whole nine yards. It seems like I purposely and deliberately go out of my way to choose the most difficult options in life, and make things hard on myself. I suppose that part of it is that I have always believed greatly in the power of the underdog, because I have felt like an underdog myself. I have always wanted to teach in the prison system, because I believe with every ounce of my being that when we know better we do better, and education has the power to transform lives – and I wanted in on that. Sadly, that opportunity hasn’t come my way yet, but hopefully it will some day. I think I could do some good things. :-) That wide-eyed optimism is the same way that I approach my interactions with other people…and, while this attitude has got me in trouble far more times than I’d care to admit (there are too damn many cruel people out there, my friends), it’s the only attitude that I have. Thinking the best in people, regardless of how lost their soul may be, is all I’ve got. My soul is probably lost as well, you know…and I’m just looking for someone to seek me. :-)

 

xxx

Come On Get Happy

On January 1st, I embarked on a journey to celebrate things that made me happy. I started posting a minimum of 1 picture a day to my Instagram (@leannaerin, if you’re interested in joining in the fun) of something that made me smile and feel happy – and I labelled it with the hashtag #100HappyDays. I had technical difficulties a couple of times that prevented me posting before midnight, but I did fix them right away, and I made it all the way through…my 100th day will be this Friday, which is, ironically, my birthday. :-)

You can find out about this project on their website – and I strongly recommend you give it a look. It’s a great idea – I put a reminder on my phone for every evening at 8:00pm, just to be sure that I wouldn’t forget. Some days, I had so many happy things to post that I blew up my Instagram (sorry about that, following friends – my very large night out in Austin last Friday must have been a beast for you!)…other days, I had to dig pretty bloody deep to find anything to feel happy about. The thing is, though, that I did it, I did find things to feel optimistic and happy about….which is always a great thing. :-)

Here are some highlights for me:

My love :-)

My love :-)

The truth!

The truth!

Hahaha :-)

Hahaha :-)

Sage life advice :-)

Sage life advice :-)

My new short 'do!

My new short ‘do!

I have said these to people....much hilarity ensued ;-)

I have said this to people….much hilarity ensued ;-)

It happens ;-)

It happens ;-)

Amen!

Amen!

If you don't do this, then you're a liar.....EVERYONE does. :-)

If you don’t do this, then you’re a liar…..EVERYONE does. :-)

:-)

:-)

 

According to their website, people have found the following when they have done this project:People successfully completing the challenge claimed to:

– Start noticing what makes them happy every day;
– Be in a better mood every day;
– Start receiving more compliments from other people;
– Realize how lucky they are to have the life they have;
– Become more optimistic;
– Fall in love during the challenge

 

This is what I found: I looked at the world around me differently, constantly keeping my eyes open for things that made my heart super-happy, and took a picture….just to be sure that I remembered the feelings that I had in that moment. I didn’t receive more compliments from people, sadly – however, this is totally fine, as the project was done for me, not for anyone else. I believe that my optimism level improved, which is quite the thing as my optimism is already pretty darn high! As for the last point up there…I think that I fell more in love with myself, with my surroundings, and with this life that I lead – mixed up, chaotic, confusing, and difficult though it may be….it’s MY life, and most days, it’s pretty damn magical. :-)

 

xxx

Done

It has come to my attention recently that people that I thought I was close to, that I had developed friendships with, and that I felt I could trust were, in fact, shitty, shady people who were simply playing me to try to get something from me. I am extremely frustrated by this news, and SO angry at myself….I’m smarter than this. Yet, somehow, in my stupid bloody desperation to have friends and a social life, I believe all of the lies, and open myself up to the possibilities…and then this happens. Again. I’m done.

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Why can’t people just be who they say they are? Is it really that difficult to have integrity? I don’t get it. I have done a lot of reflecting over the weekend, trying to figure out if something I had done could have possibly led these people to believe that this kind of behavior was okay – and I got nothing. Nada. I’m trying to tell myself that their shitty behavior says nothing about me and everything about them, but….it’s hard. If you are finding that this can be an issue for you, here are five signs that you might be in trouble when it comes to integrity:

1. It’s all about you. Selfish people harm their organizations, families and friends. If it’s all about you, you won’t go the distance. Or you will, but you’ll hurt a lot of people in the process and you’ll never know what could have happened if you made it about others.

2. Your self esteem rises and falls with the opinion of others. A secure leader can see the right way and lead people there through tough conditions. An insecure leader will bend with every change in public opinion. Which means you’re not actually leading anyone, not even yourself.

3. You’re hiding things. You shouldn’t be telling everyone everything (that’s not healthy) – but someone needs to know everything. If you’re keeping secrets, you’re heading for a fall.

4. You fail to do what you said you were going to do. This isn’t just about keeping promises; it’s about keeping your word in everything. Better to say nothing and surprise someone by delivering than blurt out an intention you can’t fulfil. Ultimately, people lose confidence in you when you fail to deliver. It’s a trust issue. A fairly easy way to address this is to say less and deliver more. A great follow up system also helps (sometimes a lack of integrity isn’t even a moral issue – just an awareness and organization issue).

5. You make too many compromises. Leadership is not about getting everyone to like you or about finding the easiest path. It’s about discerning the best way forward. It’s about getting people to go where they wouldn’t go if it wasn’t for leadership. If you make too many decisional compromises or even a handful of personal compromises, your effectiveness will be–you guessed it– compromised.

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Those points really make sense to me, how about you? The real question is, though – what do we do about it? Here are some tips to do this better, to be a better person, and less of an arsehole:

Meet your commitments. As an entrepreneur, when you are late with a committed business plan or meeting with an investor, you lose integrity. As a company, if your customer feels you did not meet your product quality commitment, your company loses integrity. Your view or reason doesn’t matter.

Honest to a fault. This term is usually used to mean honest as seen by other people. Some think honesty is only related to what is said, but not telling the whole truth is dishonest, even in court. If you can’t deliver a service because of your company’s mistake, integrity suggests that you include the real reason in your apology.

Strong and consistent moral code. The target here is to meet the receiver’s moral code expectation. If your product or process is marginal or worse, you will lose that customer. If you are trying to find an investor for your new gambling site, you probably will be disappointed.

Treat everyone with respect. No one likes to be dis-respected (from their perspective). Respect is difficult to define in the abstract, but quick to be recognized by the receiver. Be courteous and considerate to all on cultural differences, positions, races, ages, or any other types of distinctions.

Build and maintain trust. Trust is a reliance relationship built on character, strength, and ability. It usually takes several good acts to build, and one bad act to lose. To build company trust, you need to personalize your company. People do business with people. Even internationally known brands are judged daily by the quality of their people.

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While these tips are meant to be taken into consideration in the business world, I don’t see why they wouldn’t apply to our personal relationships as well. We as a society need to treat those around us more carefully, and stop being so reckless with the feelings and emotions of others. We need to be more deliberate in our actions and our words, and we need to be more thoughtful of our fellow man. It seems that more people than ever before are all about themselves these days – gone is the time when we did unto others….we need to bring that kind of thinking back.

 

xxx