Category Archives: spirituality

Rounded – WP Weekly Photo

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The stairs for the Pagoda in Patterson Park, Baltimore, Maryland.  Patterson Park is a really nice park that I’d never before been to and reminding me a little of Central Park.  That day I was meeting with a discussion group, and we sat on blankets and yoga mats chatting just outside the Pagoda.  Fortunately, the building happened to be open, and we were able to climb the rounded spiral stairs to appreciate the beautiful stained glass windows and phenomenal view of the city from the outside top balcony.  I LOVE looking up spiral staircases.  Down is good too!  Sorry, no photo of the outside, but here are the factoids from the Park’s website where you can find a photo of the Pagoda.

The Pagoda

Known as the Pagoda because of its oriental architectural appearance, the design was intended to reflect the bold Victorian style of the day. From the top of the tower one can view downtown, Baltimore’s many neighborhoods, the Patapsco River, the Key Bridge and Fort McHenry.

Over time and due to natural decay, vandalism, and lack of maintenance funds, the Pagoda was closed to the public in 1951 when the first of a series of partial renovations was attempted. At one point demolition was proposed as an option but thankfully the 1998 Master Plan for Patterson Park called for the complete restoration of the Pagoda. This project was guided by the Friends of Patterson Park, in partnership with Baltimore City’s Department of Recreation and Parks and MANY neighborhood volunteers. Completed in the spring of 2002, the Pagoda now stands as an iconic structure for Patterson Park and Baltimore City and signified the renaissance of the community around Patterson Park. It is also the location of many programs and events, such as the Friends of Patterson Park Summer Concerts Series, Audubon’s family programs, Tour Dem Parks waterstop, one of the sites of AVAM’s Kinetic Sculpture Race obstacles, The Friends’ annual Moonlight Pagoda event and much, much more!

Source:  Friends of Patterson Park website:  https://pattersonpark.com/park-landmarks

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Habits That Create The Best Possibilities (for me)

Here are some things I practice to be aware of.  We all have our own ways to be at our best and attract our best possibilities and these may or may not work for you.  It’s whatever supports you and empowers you.  For me, with so many experiences that I’m having just about every day now, it’s helpful to remember and practice whatever feels right at the time.  It’s pretty ordinary yet offering a beautiful shift in my day.

  • Practicing self-kindness by doing all the things I enjoy every day such as yoga and meditation, making time for exercise, and time for art.IMG_1843I’m not at my best when I let these things slide and, at this writing, some of these have been sliding off the scale. So off I go to walk on my favorite nature trail.
  • Watching my self-talk and turning it around when it goes south
  • Being my real-deal self.  You’re great too, but I don’t want to be you.
  • Remember that it’s nearly impossible to make a difference by playing it safe, or be a people pleaser.
  • Build a small community of support and let the unsupportive relationships fade
  • Allow others to assist me and remember to ask how I can assist them
  • Cultivate lightheartedness no matter what.  Lightheartedness brings opportunities.
  • Notice when I play smaller because of fear, insecurity, or some other lower emotion.  Remember it’s not the truth, and get back to being my magnificent self.
  • Gratefulness for pretty much everything
  • Being good with sometimes feeling uncomfortably stretched, and therefore vulnerable, and standing out for unusual ideas.  It’s a game…wonder what I’ll do today that will be a stretch for me?  But this is not to be confused with pushing ahead on something that’s not in my best interest.
  • Use my imagination and imagine me already doing that which I want to do and the opportunities show up to assist me.
  • Take a stand for the seemingly impossible possibilities
  • Create incremental changes and look back once in a while just to appreciate how far I’ve come
  • Enjoy a relationship with my awesomely mind-blowing amazing guidance that’s always there within me, always encouraging, supporting, assisting, loving me
  • Be both uncomfortably stretched and happy at the same time.  See those feelings that seem to be at odds, as success.

More On Aligning With Our Purpose

Lately I feel like I’ve been shot out of a cannon.  Even as I type this post my keyboard can’t keep up with me and I have to keep pausing for the cursor to catch up.  I’m conflicted between wanting faster Internet, but not wanting to give Verizon more of my money.

Along with things feeling like they’re moving at the speed of light, are the inevitable growing pains associated with me being ok with being different.  Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 6.19.55 PMI’m coloring outside the lines and some days I own that, and some days I feel awkward and weird and weird (I know I typed that twice).  There are gazillions of people out there talking and writing about the very thing I’m talking and writing about.  We’re all doing our thing, each of us resonating with different people, as it should be.   But it’s clear that this line of work is not attracting approval from friends, family, or most strangers.  It isn’t mainstream.  Mark my words, once my book is published and I’ve given a TEDTalk, then I’ll get the approving sentiments, the clap on the back, but by then I won’t need their encouragement.

When aligning with our purpose we’re stretching ourselves.  You’re probably equally excited and terrified.  It’s understandable that you’re in need of a kind word, occasional words of encouragement.  Funny, we get impressed about where people work, what their titles are, how monetarily successful they are, if they’re published, what they drive, where they live, how they dress.  Meanwhile, we’re missing the magnificent that we pass on the sidewalk every single day, the great musician guy working at Trader Joe’s, or the folks we meet networking or at social events, that seem so ordinary, just like us…but, just like us, they’re amazing and they’re standing right in front of us.  Me.  You.  Not because we worked at stupid AOL years ago but because of who we are.  Maybe we should all wave while jumping up and down shouting “I’m right here!  I’m a magnificent human being…do you see it too?!”

You see yesterday, I had a gigantic moment.  I joined a group of ladies for a friend’s birthday and was asked what I do or if I was retired.  Answering her I said I’m a speaker and talk about spirituality, about looking to ourselves for the change we want for ourselves and the world.  Simple right?  And then, it felt so good to say that, I kept going.  Yupper, because I was sharing something that meant a lot to me I kept talking out of sheer nervousness as several faces politely listened to my monologue.  It’s like I gave myself a get out of jail card purging many decades of holding back and it came out in a torrent of words.  Then I told them my other idea I’m working on, cause evidently I wasn’t done talking yet.

We all have these moments that are big for us but others couldn’t possibly know because the moment is ours, not theirs.  It always feels good not trying to fit in, being my old self who used to hold back, worried I might “rock the boat” or stick out, afraid of being seen and heard.  Yesterday I talked too much about myself, stuck out, rocked the mainstream boat a little, as I talked about something many people don’t understand and probably think is strange for me to do.  Bite me.  I color outside the lines and happy that I do.  All I have to say is, if you’re reading this and you color outside the lines too, good!  Don’t stop.  Don’t hold back.  Be yourself, and show other people what it looks like to think differently, and to see how that pays off in unimaginable ways. Not everyone colors outside the lines and that’s ok too.  We should all be ourselves unapologetically.

For me, I know I’m experiencing a growth spurt.  No one else will recognize it.  But it’s here and I’m good with it and with all the vulnerable feelings that come along with it.  Stretching myself is always a challenge, but it gets easier, until…I reach my next challenge.  No question, I’d rather be in a space of growth than be stuck where I was.

Following my murmuration

Today I went somewhere, physically and spiritually.  I went for two reasons and I stayed for only one.   What I’m experiencing in my life is beautiful, joyful, and at times…not overwhelming…but more…mind boggling.   And I have no one to share all this with.  I can write about it, mention it in my talks, but that’s not the same as what I experienced this morning.  Not usually, but sometimes I’m SO LONELY because there are no people in my life just to sit with in it or casually speak with about it all.  But today I followed my murmuration and sat with people who share in all this…whatever all this is for them.  They have a place where they can physically go to be with each other.  And, I didn’t realize how much I crave this.

And by the way, I’m not really ever alone.  I always have the support of something that’s always with me, supports me, guides me, and loves me unconditionally. But being with people who might understand what I’m feeling is important too.

Interesting to me, the other reason I went there I’m no longer interested in pursuing.  This was a gift today and I don’t desire anything else.  And today was a good day to show up.  I’ve had a rare bee in my bonnet yesterday and the day before, still buzzing around even this morning as I started my day.  It’s about wanting to spend more time writing, to noodle with a talk I’ll be giving, to research leads and look into some legal things I need to look into as I create this new idea I have to bring people together to share their inspiration.  But, instead, I spent the past two days doing what I felt I should do… favors, errands, cooking (but not cleaning) and I was full out annoyed.  It’s becoming more and more important that whatever I’m doing I’m doing with as much joy as I can.  And I desire to allow for more time each day to play and work on my dreams and ideas, even longer meditations if I feel like it.

I exhaled when I entered that room today and it felt like that bee buzzed off somewhere else.  I allowed myself to show up today as just me, just someone who wanted to feel all that love, and it was a very nice thing indeed.  I’ve always run from churches.  I don’t like repeating someone else’s thoughts, someone else’s words, believing a belief just because someone wrote it down a gazillion years ago.  This part of my life I’m finally love-2111827_1280learning to speak my own words, uncover my own beliefs, to follow my heart, and to allow myself to be seen rather than hide.  That hasn’t changed.  But after following my murmurations today I see that I can have community without losing who I am, without compromising my own unique beliefs.  I can have all that, feel a community of tremendous love…stay afterwards, get (and give) more hugs, and eat chocolate chip cookies.  Murmurations are a good thing to follow, and I probably follow them more than I realize.

TMI

When I share with people that I give talks, I also share that I’m nervous about public speaking.  Totally TMI right?  However, even Adele tells people she’s scared when she sings to crowds, sometimes she tells the crowds just before she begins another song.  “I love you but you really really scare me”, is what I remember she said.

But I’m not Adele.  Publicly saying I’m nervous, especially while delivering my 30-second elevator speech, isn’t a winning strategy for attracting people to hire me.  You’d never know, at one time, I used to work in advertising.  Note to self:  must self-promote better.

I have other fears…like Copperhead snakes.  Yikes, they are a bad ass snake.  They don’t slither away from us, they hunker down, appearing to be a confident and secure snake…a good role model for the rest of their peeps.   Because we have a lot of them on our property, I wear my gardening boots to prevent a nasty problem.  Eazy peazy right?   But…being seen by ooodles of people?   Not so eazy peazy.  Sometimes I’m not as bad ass as I’d like to be.  microphoneEveryone knows that many people are nervous about public speaking.  That doesn’t help me!  And that very unhelpful factoid doesn’t mean that particular fear isn’t something for me to look at.  For me, it’s about how I feel about myself.   That I am not enough and I’m afraid you’ll see that too Way more challenging than dealing with Copperheads. 

But over the years, I worked on I’m not enough.  I learned to be more aware of what I was thinking about myself and the words I chose.  Over the years, I released many negative beliefs about myself, replacing them with way healthier ones.  But never skipping the valuable, but sometimes highly uncomfortable step, of looking inside of me to understand where all that came from, how it started, and why I kept believing it.  The more I understood, the more I let go of one limiting belief at a time.  If I do say so, the result was totally worth it.

If this fear is showing up again at this time, it’s because I’m stepping up to bigger opportunities and allowing more of me to be seen.  However, the art of looking and releasing is way easier and faster now, because I know to always look inside of me and to learn from that place.  Throughout the remainder of my life, I plan on acting on many of my dreams.  And if I’m not good enough shows up again?…  I keep looking until those beliefs completely disappear.

When the glitter wore off

My husband is an expert gift wrapper.  No detail is left undone…the edges are crisp, the bows are perfect, you don’t see any tape because he hides it and there’s not one ounce of ugly.  I however, am a disaster, and the final product looks as though I left my glasses in another room while I wrapped it.  One Christmas, back when we were dating, I wanted to impress him and wrapped his presents in thick gold glitter paper and silver glitter paper.  Tasteful not tacky, I promise.  I bought the paper at a lovely stationary store but they neglected to tell me that it’s best to use special tape because the paper is really really thick and the regular tape won’t stick to glitter.  Yup, the wrapping popped open, many many times before the official gift opening. Between the gifts unwrapping themselves and the teensy weensy little glitter falling all over my floor, furniture, and getting stuck to my face…the novelty wore off.  I still have that paper tucked away in a closet and I tried it once more for a wedding present.  And you know what?  My husband always chuckles when he sees my wrapping jobs, he thinks it’s cute…I didn’t need the glitter, he loves my kid-like wrapping.

My interest in spirituality began with looking for the glitter, not that it registered as that at the time.  I searched high and low for information, answers, the best teachers, and the more woo-woo the more glittery they were to me, and the more interested I was.  Even though I spent a lot of time with the glitter I don’t feel I wasted my time because it led me to learning that wasn’t what I was looking for after all.  It took many years but I found what I was looking for and it’s way simple.

 

It’s different for everyone.  What one person needs, another doesn’t.  What another person resonates with, someone else may feel empty with.  One person’s unfulfilling glitter experience might be a life changing experience for another.  The important thing is remembering that as we look around to enjoy ourselves, don’t take it too seriously because lightheartedness assists us more than anything and, anyway, we already have what we’re looking for we just have to open to it.

Inspiration and Humanity – Take II

There should be a place where people can go to show themselves…their art, their passion, their stories.  microphone

Let’s allow ourselves the gift of letting others be exactly where they are.  Long way of saying, I’m getting ready to resurface my idea for the Museum of Inspiration and Humanity that I wrote about in a long ago blog post and spoke of in one of my Toastmaster’s talks.  For now, I’m calling it Gallery of Inspiration and Humanity.  My inspiration was born out of my concern about the negative effect museums like the 9/11 museum have on people’s emotions.  From that place I wondered why don’t we build places of inspiration rather than foster fear and despair through a rehashing of tragedies. And this time, I won’t worry about what any one organization is creating around their own idea of humanity or inspiration.  This is my passion, my version of inspiration, and I’m putting it out there.  The idea is to inspire each other from a place of generosity by allowing each other visibility.  By allowing everyone to be touched by whomever resonates with them.  You don’t have to be a published author, an artist that is chosen to show work in juried art shows, or one of Inc. Magazine’s 500 fastest growing companies.  You just have to be you and want to share your inspiration.  Love who you are and where you’re at now and share that with others.  Inspiration is contagious.