The Purpose of Life is to Grow

The Purpose of Life is to Grow

Once upon a time, there were kings who wore bold crowns and royal robes that draped their bodies, dragging behind them as they walked the halls of their castles. You knew them by their clothing. They commanded armies of men, hundreds or thousand strong, ready to go war, freely spilling their blood. Uniforms carefully delineated with certain colors and styles. Everyone in their place.  Genghis Khan anyone?

Crowns, Hats, & Applause

We still have crowns, hats, and applause to show us where we stand in the line of royalty. Just look around and it’s usually not too difficult to tell. The difference now is you now decide if you care enough to listen. There’s a falseness to most applause. The cheer is meant to herd you in the direction that pleases someone else. It doesn’t take me to the top of the mountain that I’m trying to climb. So boo or cheer all you want. I’m not a rebel in black or cute little girl in pink either. Check out I’m Not Good. Just a person with a vision.

Life is a series of false horizons

“But Life in general is just a series of false horizons and you never really feel like you got it all under control…. specially when you’re in an uncertain entrepreneurial career…. you really just don’t know what’s next….”Ed Helms – Off Camera

Here are a couple of things I found interesting from a recent podcast, The Keys To Exponential Personal and Professional Growth with Salim Ismail:

  • The purpose of life is to grow
  • Life at its core level is just a process

Are you feeling lost in your life?  Remember your purpose. Even if it’s just a small step, start going in that direction again. I once heard a writer say, he didn’t mind if he hadn’t made it to the big times yet, as long as each choice he made brought him in closer to his goal.

Keep looking up and have a great week everyone!

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Why Not Ask?

Why Not Ask?

 

When life turns on you whether that turning is real or imagined, clear your throat. Speak up. Tell someone who cares. Most of all learn to tell yourself.  – Melody Beattie Stop Being Mean to Yourself

It’s not weak to ask, to speak up. It’s by far one of the hardest things for me to do. To even get the words out of my throat, I have to make a concerted effort. I have to imagine what exactly I’m needing or wanting, like whether I should tip my massage therapist or can I borrow some quarters for the vending machine.

Frame the ask properly. Don’t say, “I am so swamped. I just don’t have time for this” or “I’m an idiot and can’t figure this out.” You need to frame the ask positively, so it is mutually beneficial. – Fortune.com

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The Creative Instinct

English: 10-months-old baby during winter stro...The New Year is usually pictured as a new baby. New babies and new projects bring new excitement. They take up your time and fill up your current moment like no other thing in life and then they’re gone. You’re left like Grampa, sitting in the rocker, re-telling war stories to the grandkids.

I told my oldest son recently, that there was nothing in this world that I enjoyed more than raising him and his brother. Watching them grow up and become adults was a dream come true for me. Just hours after my second son was born, I was holding him and thinking, if only there was a way I could slow the time, just some way to bottle the hours so that I could be alone with my babies and get to know them better. But the world kept intruding. Life kept its barrage of daily needs. Some days I resented life’s onward march. On other days, I became a child and played toy cars and built Lego towers. I know there are other mothers who have felt this. My own mom hasn’t admitted it, but I’ve seen it in her face. My former mother-in-law often cried after we left from visiting on the holidays. She told me. I know she missed her son.

I wonder, is it the oxytocin? Is it the bonding in the uterus before childbirth? I also wonder if fathers feel the same emotion. Of course, it’s also possible that I hang out with a bunch of sentimental junkies and we need to get a life. Now that my children are officially grown and I still have some creative instinct left, I think I’ll set my sights towards my writing even more than before. We are all creative. In one form or another, we create something in our lives. What we create in this next year is up to each of us.

To all of my younger friends who are mothers–and boy are there a lot of you, I’m green with jealousy of your smiling faces–I wish you well this next year. I wish health and happiness, with lots of fun and laughter. I hope you can bottle up a few hours of hugs for the future. You never know when you might want to revisit one.

To all of us, in whatever creative pursuit you do this coming year, do it for your own pleasure, not because someone else thinks you would be good at it. Find the time for that one thing you’ve put off, whether it would be just sitting in the coffee shop alone for an hour, or browsing through the antique store–do it.

I think that this could be a good year. And I choose to make it one.

Oxytocin-Psychology Today

Here’s a poem my mom always referenced, especially the last line.

“BABIES DON’T KEEP”

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

Author: Ruth Hulburt Hamilton
Read more at http://www.scrapbook.com/poems/doc/28653.html#tZhJcBV2xEyC0gMd.99

Sold or Sold Out

Sold or Sold Out

I have a gripping memory. A moment that I don’t think that I will ever forget. When I was around 10 years old, a young man in our church was sick with leukemia. He’d already been down the road with several treatments and had been been in remission once, but the leukemia had returned. He’d started the treatments again, but his body was weak. His limbs were thin and he looked almost like a walking skeleton. Everything that could be done, was being done, it was as they say, in the hands of God. As we gathered on a Sunday morning for service, the pastor called for a prayer vigil and a day of fasting. For those not familiar, instead of your normal day of eating and napping, we’d take that time to pray for our friend and keep him in our thoughts. This was all voluntary. I wanted to help. I cared. But fasting. Food. Egads.

The drive home was somber. On the way home we stopped to check on some friends of my parents who hadn’t made it to church. And wouldn’t you know it, they had the biggest back yard grill and barbecue going. I could smell the hot dogs. That was the only thing I cared for at that moment. We’d eaten with them before and it had been heaven on earth. I think that I’d eaten 4 hot dogs and 1 burger if I remember right. Yeah, I was a growing girl. Like a girl with a butterfly net, I lost sight of the man with leukemia, the prayer vigil, the fasting, compassion and all the promises I’d had made in my heart and mind earlier that morning. I only saw hot dogs floating in the sky. Until I heard my dad say, ‘No we have to go. We’ve made other plans.’ No explanation. No talk about fasting. Nothing. But that’s my dad. Quiet. As few words as possible. Conagher like.

Sold

Dad was sold. All in. Now, I’m not saying that fasting is the answer, because, sadly it wasn’t. And I’m not saying that being all in, is the way, or the only way to go. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. It’s a memory I have that has been on my mind. There are times that I feel the need to throw all of my cards on the table. Hold nothing back. Give it all I’ve got. I’m proud of that moment that Dad said, No we have other plans. If he’d have done any other thing, it would seem cheap. Not that the outcome would have been any different maybe, but the heart of matter is showing you care for another human. It was the belief of my family. And in their belief it was the greatest show of caring.

Sold or Sold Out?

My opposing memory is being with those who can’t seem to stay with you for a meal. Or feel a client’s phone call is more important than family time, even it’s scheduled. I’ve had this happen. When I asked why, he said, The client pays the bills. How do you argue that? My thoughts were, if there’s no one here, then you won’t have any bills to pay, but I didn’t say it. I just stewed in anger instead. At the time I thought it was better to be silent than to start a fight. Now I’m not so sure. Sold or sold out? Maybe he was sold also, just to the client. Maybe he was as another had told me, married to the job, more so than me. I was the mistress, the job was the spouse. I think a lot of people these days are sold out and don’t realize it. It’s not that they intentionally go to the crossroads and make a deal with the devil. They just give away a piece of their self a bit at a time. Even I did that when I kept quiet. We do it every day.

This week, I want to be careful, but not in a fearful way. In a way that is awake. I want to carefully step every day on firm ground, one step in front of the other, making sure that it’s the direction I want to go. I’m going to set down the butterfly net, so I can give full attention to the people around me, to those I truly care about.

Women are alway fixing things

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Have you taken it to heart? I just read the story of Margaret Rudkin, the mother of Pepperidge Farms. It started with an allergy. Actually her son’s allergy to certain bread products. As most mothers do, she took the doctor’s advice initially and put him on a restricted diet of vegetables, fruits, and meats. Later she decided to experiment. She wasn’t a baker, a chef, or any type of fancy cook, just a mother who cared about her child. She was on a mission. She finally found a way to make breads that her son could tolerate. She went on to other items and decided to market her baked goods. It took time. Lots of it. Years. You can read her story here, Pepperidge Farm History

Have we forgotten about women? We’ve encouraged women to study math and science. We’ve encouraged them in sports. We’ve encouraged them in higher education. Are we training them to be only automatons? Did we forget to challenge them to take risks? Not according to Linda Rottenberg. She says we just haven’t talked about the things women have done. I believe we to keep encouraging.

“Entrepreneurship isn’t just for guys who wear hoodies and work in technology,” said Linda Rottenberg. Entrepreneurship is solving problems that can make significant change in people’s lives, then scaling the solution. She should know: She’s co-founder and CEO of Endeavor, the world’s leading supporter of fast-growing entrepreneurs. Rottenberg is also the author of recently published Crazy Is a Complement: The Power of Zigging When Everyone Else Zags.

In fact, by focusing on stories only about Marc Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, we may be discouraging many entrepreneurs who don’t fit their model rather than encouraging entrepreneurs. Let’s make sure to tell stories about all fast-growing entrepreneurs including those led by women. – Forbes Women Entrepreneurs

Here are some current female entrepreneurs who are listed in the article. I’ve snipped it a bit for space. You can click the link above to read the entire article.

  • Two women, Leila Velez and Zica Assis, raised in the slums of Brazil created a line of hair care products, Beleza Natural for Afro-Brazilian women so their hair would look beautiful. They employ 3,000 people and generate $100 million revenue.
  • Lateefa Alwaalan created Yatooq, which developed a coffee brewer that reduced the time it takes to make Arabic coffee by 75%. Yatooq also developed an Arabic coffee blend. Her company is projected to earn $8 million this year and $11 million next year.
  • Nada Debs has built a furniture and accessories design brand under her name. The products are  manufactured by a network of 150 artisans in Lebanon. She employs more than 40 people…Products can be purchased from New York to Dubai.
  • Bedriye Hülya, created B-fit, Turkey’s first national chain of women-only gyms…also enabled hundreds of women to own b-fit franchises and thus become entrepreneurs in their own right.

If you see a need for something different, fill it, make it, create it, design it. Sarah Blakely did. That’s why we now have Spanx. Whether you think they’re a good thing or a bad thing, every product you use, from a toothbrush to a can opener, someone had a need, then had the courage to do something about it. But before they had the courage, there was a mother or father, sister, brother or friend, who told them they were talented enough to do it. If you don’t feel ready to jump into the fray yourself, then lend a hand to someone else. Patronage is still alive today.

Expectations vs Reality

Expectations vs Reality

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed. “Maybe,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “Maybe,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “Maybe,” said the farmer.

Expectations are just that, expectations. They aren’t promises or guarantees. We assume we know how life will go. I have heard that women tend towards forecasting in relationships more so than men. We meet a man, and in our mind we’ve got our house picked out along with the names of the two adorable children we will have. When the relationship crashes, we wonder what went wrong. Maybe nothing went wrong. It could be that it wasn’t as perfect as we’d thought. It’s difficult to process the difference between our imaginary relationship or imaginary job versus the one that really exists. We need to be careful to pay attention to what really is happening around us, then we approach life face to face.  Where were you looking when the roof caved in? Did you notice the first drops of rain? Or the buckets on the floor to catch the dripping roof leak? Maybe you were were visualizing life in another town.

So what are we to do? I love to redecorate my house in my mind and our imagination has its purpose. How would we ever make any progress, whether scientific or mathematically? Visualization gives us our map of how it could be. We need to remember where we are right now.

Avoiding magical thinking

But while your intent is pure and your goal is to create magic, the most common mistake is to believe that the marketplace will agree with your good intent and support you. More specifically, that media intermediaries will clearly, loudly and accurately tell your story, that this story will be heard by an eager and interested public and that the public will take action (three strikes).

Or, more tempting, that ten people will tell ten people to the eighth power, leading to truly exponential growth (some day). Because right now, you’ve told ten people and they have told no one…

Only count on things that have happened before, a funnel you can buy and time you can afford to invest. Anything more than that is a nice bonus. – Seth’s blog

 

Under Pressure

Under Pressure

You know that feeling you get when someone is watching over your shoulder? Or, you say you can sink a basket from the free-throw line? No pressure, right? Oh the deadline is Friday? For all of the discomfort it brings, pressure also can bring out the best in us. I’ve found the best way to motivate myself is to set a deadline. Even better is to tell someone about my deadline. If I can line up my goal with this type of pressure, I will almost always complete the task.

Here are my steps,

  • I have a thought or an idea.
  • I write it out either in Google Drive or in a personal notebook.
  • I decide what effort is needed, money or time.
  • I let it percolate inside of me for however long it’s necessary.
  • When the idea has built enough inside of me I usually get follow up ideas and at that moment I can plunge into the project.
  • I find tweeting my progress helps

My pitfalls

It’s easy for me to get lost in researching my ideas so, I try as best as I can to write everything out from the top of my head. Ad Lib if you will. Afterwards since the idea is written out I can edit as needed and add more details.

It took me a while to get comfortable with announcing my plans. Stating aloud “I’m writing a novel,” can lead to all types of feedback. Some think you’re bragging, but you’re not. Mostly I avoided it because seemed like too much pressure. It created that mind numbing turmoil in my head. Now if I don’t finish I am shamed. No one wants to look like a braggart or a fool, but people really have short memories. And they have their own lives to live. A week from now, their troubles will make them forget about the silly thing you stated. And when you actually finish the novel, run the marathon, or lose the weight, you feel the satisfaction. Isn’t that what you wanted?

Run for yourself, not anyone else. – runner’s world

suggested read:

 

The Rhythm of Life

The Rhythm of Life

In yoga, movements are measured by breath. Breathe in as you raise your arms, breathe out as you fold forward. Yoga is not about bending your body into a pretzel so you can impress someone. Yoga is feeling the flow and the rhythm of life. It brings rhythm to your thoughts, emotions, and body. The tide flows in and the tide flows out. The sun rises then sets. This rhythm changes the perspective of life if you let it.

This flow of life contrasts starkly against the rush of life around me. Yesterday, I watched a young motorcyclist weave in and out of traffic on a busy highway going at least 85 mph. No helmet. No protective gear. Just his ball cap shoved on backwards, young and careless. I’m sounding old now, but from my perspective, life is short enough. As I waited for my traffic light to turn green earlier today, the traffic rushed by me. I wanted to get out of everyone’s way and hole up in my home. I used to shop late at night. Groceries are so much easier to buy when no one else is around. Late at night life is quiet and life slows down. Here’s a couple of verses from a favorite song,

And when my mind is free
You know your melody can move me
And when I’m feelin’ blue
The guitars come through to soothe me

Thanks for the joy you’ve given me
I want you to know that I believe in your song
And rhythm, and rhyme, and harmony
You helped me along, you’re makin’ me strong – lyrics “Drift Away” Uncle Kracker

I think we sometimes miss the point of why we do things. For example, I write for the pleasure as I’ve before stated. I love the sound of words and the process of stating something clearly. It’s a thrill to say it just the way you mean it. It’s the process. Writing fiction is daunting, but the pleasure of watching your characters come to life is worth the push through. Inch by inch and row by row.

It’s not always the fastest who wins the race, or the strongest who wins the war, so slow down.

 

Barriers

There are so many walls, closed doors and iron bars in my mental picture that understanding life can sometimes be difficult. I’ve spent the last 10 plus years unlearning religion and yet I find so much of its cages still there. If I could find proof in a god or even if there was no god it would seem easier. But yet in the old behavioral science experiments the opposite is the case. In spite of the door being opened the animals still had difficulty leaving.

Is there a reason for the friction?

If you want to visit DisneyWorld, you’ll need to buy a ticket and wait in line.

If you want to see the full moon, you can go outside and look up in the sky.

Often, we’re tempted to create friction, barriers and turnstiles. We try to limit access, require a login, charge a fee… sometimes, that’s because we want control, other times we believe we can accomplish more by collecting money. Clearly, people value the moments that they spend at Disney–with hundreds of dollars on the line and just a few hours to spend, there’s an urgency and the feeling of an event occurring. – Seth Godin

When I can, I don’t make life so difficult. If I see a need and I can help, I help. God doesn’t need to be consulted or any religion. If I need money, I work. If I can make money at what I love doing, then great, otherwise I’ll do what someone else will pay me to do. I’m not going to sit around and worry because I’m not making money by being impressive. I want to just live my life without difficulty.